oc·​ta·​ton·​ic | \ ˌäk-tə-ˈtä-nik How to pronounce octatonic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly octotonic

Definition of octatonic

: relating to or employing an eight-note scale made up of alternating semitones and whole tones … a French sixth chord, which contains two tritones, acts as a nexus between the whole-tone scale, which contains three, and the octatonic scale, which contains four.— Richard Taruskin, Music in the Early Twentieth Century, 2009 — see scale

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Other Words from octatonic

octatonicism \ ˌäk-​tə-​ˈtä-​nə-​ˌsi-​zəm How to pronounce octatonicism (audio) \ noun

First Known Use of octatonic

1963, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about octatonic

Time Traveler for octatonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of octatonic was in 1963

See more words from the same year

Statistics for octatonic

Cite this Entry

“Octatonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/octatonic. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

Comments on octatonic

What made you want to look up octatonic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!