commoratio (rhetoric)

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

Michael Palin and John Cleese performing the "Dead Parrot Sketch" in 1974. (Michael Putland/Getty Images)


Commoratio is a rhetorical term for dwelling on a point by repeating it several times in different words. Also known as synonymia and communio.

In Shakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language (1947),  Sister Miriam Joseph describes commoratio as "a figure whereby one seeks to win an argument by continually coming back to one's strongest point, as Shylock does when he keeps insisting that Antonio pay the penalty and forfeit of the bond (The Merchant of Venice, 4.1.36-242)."

See Examples and Observations below. Also see:

From the Latin, "dwelling"

Examples and Observations

  • "He's passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed him to the perch he'd be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, he's shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!"
    (John Cleese in "The Dead Parrot Sketch," Monty Python's Flying Circus)
  • "With bad grace, [Shahid] had eventually conceded that [Iqbal] had to go. And then, yesterday, most amazing thing of all--he had gone! Moved out! Vamoosed! Iqbal was out of there! Elvis had left the building! The fat lady had sung! Mandela had been freed! Shahid had has life back!"
    (John Lanchester, Capital. W.W. Norton, 2012)
  • "'He’s gone off his rocker!' shouted one of the fathers, aghast, and the other parents joined in the chorus of frightened shouting.
    'He’s crazy!' they shouted.
    'He’s balmy!'
    'He’s nutty!'
    'He’s screwy!'
    'He’s batty!'
    'He’s dippy!'
    'He’s dotty!'
    'He’s daffy!'
    'He’s goofy!'
    'He’s beany!'
    'He’s buggy!'
    'He’s wacky!'
    'He’s loony!'
    'No, he is not!' said Grandpa Joe."
    (Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
  • "Brave Sir Robin ran away
    Bravely ran away, away
    When danger reared its ugly head
    He bravely turned his tail and fled
    Yes, Brave Sir Robin turned about
    Undoubtedly he chickened out
    Bravely taking to his feet,
    He beat a very brave retreat . . .."
    (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
  • "Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."
    (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
  • "At this moment of her diving, as she is suspended in mid-jackknife, nothing happens on the East End of Long Island. Not a single nail is nailed. Not a single hedge is trimmed. Not a single bottle of Château Whatanamazingwine is sold. Not one compliment is paid to a tomato or an ear of corn or a peach. No one asks where the potato fields have gone. Likewise the duck farms. No Filipino housekeeper is yelled at for failing to position the fruit forks correctly. No year-round resident is pushed aside at a farmer's market. No one asks anyone else to a small dinner just for close friends or wishes there were more time to spend reading quietly on the beach away from all the big parties. No one gives kudos. Or draws raves. No one embarks on an exciting new phase of his life, or enters a third act of his life, or comments that life is a journey. No one plans a benefit dance for a fatal disease. No one lowers his voice to say 'Jew."
    "Nothing moves. Nothing makes a sound. The universe lies in respectful silence as sex and commerce find their and apogee in Kathy Polite and her morning swim. For one brief moment in this day for what certainly will be the only such moment, I am at peace--all bitterness relieved, all burdens lifted from me. The wind kicks up. I bless her unaware."
    (Roger Rosenblatt, Lapham Rising. HarperCollins, 2006)
  • "Commoratio occurs when one remains rather long upon, and often returns to the strongest topic on which the whole case rests. . . . I have been unable to subjoin a quite appropriate example of the figure, because the topic is not isolated from the whole cause like some limb, but like blood is spread throughout the whole body of the discourse."
    (Rhetorica Ad Herennium, c. 90 BC)

Pronunciation: ko mo RAHT see oh

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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "commoratio (rhetoric)." ThoughtCo, Jul. 31, 2021, Nordquist, Richard. (2021, July 31). commoratio (rhetoric). Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "commoratio (rhetoric)." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 28, 2023).