Commoratio comes from a Latin term used to denote the act of delaying or dwelling on a point. In modern English terms, it refers to the deliberate repetition of the same idea and is also known as synonymia or communio.

In simplest terms, it manifests as saying or writing something in multiple ways, rewording it for emphasis. Thus, it is not to be confused with two other types of repletion in rhetoric and writing— anaphora and epiphora.

Definition And Origin

Commoratio is a simple rhetorical and writing device that harnesses the power of repetition, one of the oldest tools in human communication. Unlike techniques like anaphora and epistrophe, commoratio involves different words and phrases used to express the same idea. It is also not the same as copia, which includes a search for different words, but entails the use of only one in the end.

In rhetoric, commoratio was commonly employed as a strategy for winning an argument. The logic is to revisit and emphasize the strong point, that idea on which the whole story is built on. Some scholars also associate it with goals such as swaying the opinion of the crowd. This kind of use we find in of famous novels such as Shakespeare’s “The-Merchant-of-Venice”.

And when it comes to writing, commoratio serves a somewhat similar purpose. However, instead of beating the opponent, writers can use it as a stylistic choice. It even appears in business correspondence, when one party mentions the same thing back to back. This is often an attempt to put an exclamation mark or cautiously convey emotional sentiments.

Application And Examples of Commoratio

In everyday speech, you can use commoratio to gain an upper hand and ensure your message gets picked up by the audience. The beauty of it is that you can achieve these things without being too “on the nose”.

That way, you avoid putting people off. For instance, you could use following words in your conversation to point out to the fact that someone died:

  • no more
  • ceased to be
  • meet the maker
  • late
  • rest in peace
  • bite the dust

Popular culture and literature are teeming with creative and interesting examples. One comes from Monty Python and The Holy Grail, where verses of the famous song about “Brave-Sir-Robin” end with:

  • ran away
  • fled
  • turned about
  • chickened out
  • taking to his feet
  • beat a very brave retreat

On the other hand, in Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy, Douglas Adams uses commoratio to communicate to us just how big space is. In just two short sentences he writes:

  • big
  • vastly
  • hugely
  • mind-bogglingly big

The list goes on, but I think that about covers it for now.