octa-, octo-, oct-, octi-, octon-

(Greek > Latin: eight, eighth)

1. A person having one-eighth black ancestry; the offspring of a quadroon and a white.
2. Etymology: from 1861, an irregular formation from Latin octo, "eight" + suffix abstracted from quadroon; in which the suffix actually is -oon.

An offspring of a quadroon and a white, so called in allusion to having one-eighth black, or negro, blood.

Historical background

The terms mulatto, quadroon, and octoroon originated with the racial policies of European colonizers in the Americas; especially, the Spanish.

A quadroon is defined as an offspring of a mulatto and a white parent, or a person who is one-quarter black and three-fourths white.

Because civil rights and responsibilities were based directly on the degree of European blood that a person had, such classifications were highly elaborated, and minor distinctions in ancestry were carefully recorded.

While these terms have highly precise definitions, in actual practice they were often used based on impressions of skin color rather than definite knowledge of a person's ancestry or blood ratio.

octosyllable (noun), octosyllables (pl)
A word or a line of verse containing eight linguistic units: The use of octosyllables appeared first in an Old French saint's legend in the 10th century.
In the ratio of nine to eight, or 1 1/8 to 1.