One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Recurring every eight years.
- ‘But this explanation appears to be inconsistent with the octennial period of the festival.’
- 1.1 Lasting for or relating to a period of eight years.
- ‘The Bill was, it is true, changed from a septennial to an octennial one.’
Mid 17th century: from late Latin octennium ‘period of eight years’ + -al.
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