Definition of octave
1 : an 8-day period of observances beginning with a festival day
2a : a stanza of eight lines : ottava rimab : the first eight lines of an Italian sonnet
3a : a musical interval embracing eight diatonic degreesb : a tone or note at this intervalc : the harmonic combination of two tones an octave apartd : the whole series of notes, tones, or digitals comprised within this interval and forming the unit of the modern scalee : 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 of octave from the Web
Each of these follower tones uses one of three or four different octaves and three or four different timbers randomly selected by the program.
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.
Origin and Etymology of octave
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin octava, from Latin, feminine of octavus eighth, from octo eight — more at eight
First Known Use: 14th century
OCTAVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of octave for English Language Learners
music : the difference in sound between the first and eighth note on a musical scale
OCTAVE Defined for Kids
Definition of octave for Students
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
Seen and Heard
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