One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
With leaves one-eighth of a standard printing sheet in size; in an edition having leaves of this size.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Robert Parsons (1546–1610), Jesuit. From post-classical Latin in octavo in an eighth (sheet) from classical Latin in in + octāvo, ablative of octāvus eighth.
in octavo/ˌɪn ɒkˈteɪvəʊ//ˌɪn ɒkˈtɑːvəʊ/
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