oc·​tave | \ ˈäk-tiv How to pronounce octave (audio) , -təv, -ˌtāv \

Definition of octave

1 : an 8-day period of observances beginning with a festival day
2a : a stanza of eight lines : ottava rima
b : the first eight lines of an Italian sonnet
3a : a musical interval embracing eight diatonic degrees
b : a tone or note at this interval
c : the harmonic combination of two tones an octave apart
d : the whole series of notes, tones, or digitals comprised within this interval and forming the unit of the modern scale
e : an organ stop giving tones an octave above those corresponding to the keys
4 : the interval between two frequencies (as in an electromagnetic spectrum) having a ratio of 2 to 1
5 : a group of eight

Examples of octave in a Sentence

He sang the song an octave lower.
Recent Examples on the Web In this new version, Rosalía opens the upbeat track in Spanish and a higher octave, and offers harmonies to The Weeknd's catchy hook. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rosalía Remixes One of the Biggest Songs of the Year," 4 Dec. 2020 The 25-key Learn-to-Play piano comes in bold primary colors and has a two-octave range for your future musician. Lindsey Hunter Lopez, USA TODAY, "The 26 best toys and gifts for 1-year-olds," 7 Oct. 2020 The 28-year-old, who has a rich, six-octave vocal range, was approached by Balenciaga to record himself for their Twitter before the show. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "A Cappella Singer Mitch Grassi Is Balenciaga’s New Darling," 6 Oct. 2020 My solo hinged on a four-string A-chord with the second, third and fourth strings an octave higher than normal. Marc Myers, WSJ, "The Making of Queen’s Stadium Anthem ‘We Will Rock You’," 30 Sep. 2020 Jeglitza's lower-octave rap verses added a masculine feel to the ebullient chorus, altogether disguising pure club fare as a mainstream hit to be sung in the backseats of minivans by Midwestern children on their way to basketball practice. Katie Bain, Billboard, "On This Day in Billboard Dance History: Real McCoy Spent 'Another Night' on the Dance Club Songs Chart," 29 Sep. 2020 Brendan Gleeson’s totally ridiculous Donald Trump, performed down an octave, is arguably the strongest performance for being less oppressively accurate. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, "The Search for Kindred Spirits in “We Are Who We Are,” on HBO," 28 Sep. 2020 Each rest rose in octave and emphasis, to drive the point home. Washington Post, "Isolating in a Himalayan hotel forced this restless traveler to rethink his ‘allergy to boredom’," 13 Aug. 2020 His voice rose an octave, sounding on the edge of anger. Erik Brady, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NEVER: The anatomy of Washington team owner Daniel Snyder’s most famous quote," 4 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'octave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of octave

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for octave

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin octava, from Latin, feminine of octavus eighth, from octo eight — more at eight

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Time Traveler for octave

Time Traveler

The first known use of octave was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Octave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/octave. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for octave



English Language Learners Definition of octave

music : the difference in sound between the first and eighth note on a musical scale


oc·​tave | \ ˈäk-tiv How to pronounce octave (audio) \

Kids Definition of octave

1 : a space of eight steps between musical notes
2 : a tone or note that is eight steps above or below another note or tone

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More from Merriam-Webster on octave

Nglish: Translation of octave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of octave for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about octave

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