An Introduction to 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
  • “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)
  • “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)
Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae | Figures: OptatioOpens in new window
Henry Peachum | The Garden of Eloquence: OptatioOpens in new window