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Definition of OTTAVA RIMA
: a stanza of eight lines of heroic verse with a rhyme scheme of abababcc
Origin of OTTAVA RIMA
Italian, literally, eighth rhyme
First Known Use: 1820
Italian stanza form composed of eight 11-syllable lines, rhyming abababcc. It originated in the late 13th and early 14th centuries and was established by Giovanni Boccaccio as the standard form for Italian epic and narrative verse. When the form appeared in English, the lines were shortened to 10 syllables. In the 17th–18th century, English ottava rima was written in iambic pentameter and used for heroic poetry. Notably effective in Lord Byron's Beppo (1818) and Don Juan (1819–24), it was also used by Edmund Spenser, John Milton, John Keats, Percy B. Shelley, Robert Browning, and William Butler Yeats.