Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A line of verse containing eight syllables.
  • n. A poem having eight syllables in each line.
  • n. A word of eight syllables.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. line of verse with eight syllables

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Octosyllabic.
  • n. A word of eight syllables.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Consisting of eight syllables.
  • n. A word of eight syllables.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a verse line having eight syllables or a poem of octosyllabic lines

Etymologies

octo- +‎ syllable (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In his handling of the French octosyllable he at once displays that impatience of the rigidly syllabic system of prosody which Teutonic poetry of the best kind always shows sooner or later.

    The Flourishing of Romance and the Rise of Allegory (Periods of European Literature, vol. II)

  • Sometimes there is a double rhyme instead of a single, making seven syllables, though not altering the rhythm; and sometimes this is extended to a full octosyllable.

    The Flourishing of Romance and the Rise of Allegory (Periods of European Literature, vol. II)

  • If he is far less smooth, he has not the monotony which accompanies and, so to speak, dogs the "skipping octosyllable"; and if he cannot, as Chrestien can, frame a set passage or show-piece, he manages to keep up a diffused interest, and in certain instances -- the story of Rouwènne (Rowena), the Tintagel passage, the speech of Walwain to the Emperor of

    The Flourishing of Romance and the Rise of Allegory (Periods of European Literature, vol. II)

  • Now it is the equivalenced octosyllable of the Coleridgean stamp rather than of Scott's or

    Matthew Arnold

  • He showed, indeed, already his extraordinary metrical skill, experimenting with rhyme-royal and other stanzas, fourteeners or eights and sixes, anapæsts more or less irregular, and an exceedingly important variety of octosyllable which, whatever may have been his own idea in practising it, looked back to early Middle

    A History of Elizabethan Literature

  • The metre which was his favourite, and which he used with most success -- the trochaic dimeter catalectic of seven syllables -- lends itself almost as readily as the octosyllable to this frequently fatal fluency; but in Wither's hands, at least in his youth and early manhood, it is wonderfully successful, as here: --

    A History of Elizabethan Literature

  • Benlowes -- a Cleveland with more poetry and less cleverness, or a very much weaker Crashaw -- uses a monorhymed triplet made up of a heroic, an octosyllable, and an Alexandrine which is as wilfully odd as the rest of him.

    A History of Elizabethan Literature

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