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Definition and Examples of Optatio

Optatio (etymologically from Latin, literally “a wishing for,” or “a hoping for”) is a figure which consists when we emphasize the significance of our desires; of which we express by making a wish to God or Man.

Optatio is almost always used in signifying such wisful desires that cannot be ordinarily accomplished by the wisher's capacity.

Classic Examples

  1. “I would the immortal Gods had granted that we might rather have given thanks to Servius Sulpitius being alive, than now to examine his honours being dead.”

    — (Cicero)

  2. “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.”

    — (Isaiah 48:18)

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