Definition of octavo in US English:


(also 8vo)


  • 1A size of book page that results from folding each printed sheet into eight leaves (sixteen pages)

    ‘three octavo volumes’
    • ‘John Woodhouse did at least 72 of the 150 paintings for the imperial folio edition and 5 additional plates for the octavo edition.’
    • ‘It was much easier to read and was available in octavo form and could be effortlessly held in the hand easily.’
    • ‘This title derives from the first text of the play, published in octavo (small-format book) in 1595.’
    • ‘The first number of the Boston Journal of Natural History appeared in 1834 and continued through seven octavo volumes until it was declared complete in 1863.’
    • ‘Folded one more time, the sheet produces a book-sized format call an octavo.’
    • ‘Most basically, these texts were small, usually octavo publications of between 100 and 300 pages, bursting with short poems in English by three or more authors.’
    • ‘Faulkner's monument is the edition of Swift's Works issued in twenty octavo volumes in 1772.’
    1. 1.1 A book of octavo size.
      • ‘The five volumes consisted of an octavo of 786 pages of descriptive matter and four imperial folios containing 213 plates.’


Late 16th century: from Latin in octavo ‘in an eighth’, from octavus ‘eighth’.