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

  • adv. Music At an octave higher or lower than the notes written. Used chiefly as a direction, positioned above or below a staff.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. One octave higher. Marking indicates a passage to be transposed up one octave. Abbreviation: 8va.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An octave.


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

Italian (all')ottava, (at the) octave, from Medieval Latin octāva, from Latin, feminine of octāvus, eighth; see octave.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowed from Italian ottava, meaning "octave", the feminine ordinal form of otto, meaning "eight".


  • Christopher Serra The poem -- modest in length, if not in scope -- comprises eight stanzas of eight lines each and employs a rhyme scheme, abababcc, known as ottava rima.

    A Late Bloom From a Master

  • Slavitt calls the ottava rima stanza of Ariosto “inherently humorous,” but he seldom uses it in its pure form, opting instead for a loosey-goosey meter that sometimes succeeds in conveying Ariosto’s conversational moments but utterly fails to capture his lyrical side.

    The OLM Blog » Microreview: Slavitt’s Orlando Furioso

  • Yesterday evening I wrote and fairly copied out six ottava rima stanzas (48 lines) viz: — "The Cormorant and the Fishes, imitated from La Fontaine, and dedicated to the Conservatives."

    New Letters from Charles Brown to Joseph Severn

  • His poetic tastes – a quatrain and a canzone stanza of Petrarch, an ottava by Ariosto, a Sannazaro poem and a pastoral in sestina a form he particularly liked – are typical of the period.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • G. C. Croce, Alfabeto de giuocatori in ottava rima: Opera morale, Bologna, 1611.


  • Yet when Lord Byron speculated that the mind of John Keats, “that fiery particle,” might have been “snuffed out by an article” of poetry criticism, he made his comment in the best-selling ottava rima mock-epic known as Don Juan.

    The Problem of Humor

  • While this stanza lacks the epigrammatic punch of a final rhymed couplet, its eight lines suggest an early (1821) version of the Byronic ottava rima that Clare would return to in his asylum verse of the 1840s.


  • Martin comments that the loss of the alexandrine "has the occasional effect of rendering the Spenserian verse in the behavior of ottava rima" (85). back


  • Scipione Ponsa, whose faithful _Ars Poetica_ in _ottava rima_ appeared in the first half of the seventeenth; the advocate Borgianelli, whose brilliant version of Horace entire belongs to the second half; and the

    Horace and His Influence

  • Scott, he spoiled his poetry by writing better prose -- was nevertheless a poet of no mean merit, and the probable inventor of the _ottava rima_.

    Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine — Volume 53, No. 327, January, 1843


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