One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In the ancient Greek calendar: a period of eight years, in the course of which three months of 30 days each were intercalated so as to make the year of 12 lunar months correspond with the solar year.
Mid 17th century. From post-classical Latin octaeteris (3rd cent.) or its etymon ancient Greek ὀκταετηρίδ-, ὀκταετηρίς period of eight years from ὀκτα- + ἔτος year.
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