Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The page size obtained by folding a whole sheet into four leaves.
  • noun A book composed of pages of this size.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A size of book in which the leaf is one fourth of a described or implied size of paper.
  • Noting the size of a book in which a sheet makes four leaves: as, a quarto volume; being of the size or shape of the leaves of a quarto; as, quarto paper; a quarto edition.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Having four leaves to the sheet; of the form or size of a quarto.
  • noun Originally, a book of the size of the fourth of sheet of printing paper; a size leaves; in present usage, a book of a square or nearly square form, and usually of large size.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun paper A size of paper (7.5"-10" x 10"-12.5")(190-254 x 254-312 mm). Formed by folding and cutting one of several standard sizes of paper (15"-20" x 20"-25")(381-508 x 508-635 mm) twice to form 4 leaves (eight sides).
  • noun printing A book size, corresponding to the paper size.

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

  • noun the size of a book whose pages are made by folding a sheet of paper twice to form four leaves

Etymologies

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

[Short for Middle English (in) quarto, (in) the fourth part (of a sheet), from Medieval Latin (in) quārtō, from Latin, ablative of quārtus, fourth; see kwetwer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin quartus ("fourth")

Examples

Comments

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  • Also 4to. In printing and book collecting, a book of distinctly squarish shape made from printed sheets folded into quarters (giving eight pages). Also used in a general way to describe books about the size and shape of a modern standard telephone directory.

    February 25, 2008

  • Not just any old sheet of paper.

    A size of paper (7.5"-10" x 10"-12.5"). Formed by folding and cutting a standard large sheet of paper (15"-20" x 20"-25") twice to form 4 leaves (eight sides).

    Paper sizes such as quarto, American quarto, octavo, 16mo etc. really only continue in North America. Most of elsewhere uses ISO paper sizes - A0, A1 etc. China of course has its own sizes.

    July 25, 2008

  • From p. 24 of Patrick Leigh Fermor's "A Time to Keep Silence":

    Vellum-bound folios and quartos receded in vistas, and thousands of ancient and modern works on theology, canon law, dogma, patrology, patristics, hagiography, mysticism and even magic, and almost as many on secular history, art and travel.

    January 21, 2014