Definition of quarto in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkwôrdō/
(abbreviation 4to)

noun (plural quartos)

1A size of book page resulting from folding each printed sheet into four leaves (eight pages).
Example sentences
  • It is a comedy by Shakespeare, probably written and performed about 1595, and printed in quarto in 1598.
  • The first volume of the Transactions of the Geological Society appeared in quarto.
  • One is struck by the impact that such a slim volume, in quarto, has had on the world.
1.1A book of quarto size.
Example sentences
  • Renaissance play quartos were about the size and shape of modern comic books and sold for sixpence.
  • Shakespeare's earliest published plays are referred to as folios or quartos according to the folding of the printed sheets and therefore the size of the book: folios being large, tall volumes and the quartos smaller and squarer.
  • And as the survey moves on from newspapers and polemical pamphlets to books, and from cheaper formats up to quartos and folios, the real names tend to disappear, except again under strictly limited provision, as in a dedication.
1.2A size of writing paper, 10 in. × 8 in. (254 × 203 mm).
Example sentences
  • The essay format has a place in anthropology, I would say, even to the extent, as Don Gardner puts it, of ‘raising all of the biggest issues in social and philosophical thought in no more than ten quarto pages’.
  • Turner notes that in 1827 Newman composed a long essay of some sixty-six quarto pages addressed to his sisters.


Late 16th century: from Latin (in) quarto '(in) the fourth (of a sheet)', ablative of quartus 'fourth'.

Words that rhyme with quarto

auto, Oporto, Porto

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: quar·to

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