Definition of alliterate in English:



  • 1 (of a phrase or line of verse) contain words that begin with the same sound or letter.

    ‘his first and last names alliterated’
    • ‘You'll hear how the stanza rounds off the sequence of long, unrhymed lines with a bob-and-wheel, a series of shorter, rhyming lines that also alliterate.’
    • ‘I think I might email the programme and ask them to choose something that alliterates otherwise that's going to irritate me for goodness knows how many years.’
    • ‘The title should change every time a new poet is appointed and should alliterate or rhyme with the name of the new holder of the title.’
    • ‘‘What I expected’ is an adroit compromise between the impulses to form and to freedom: ‘twist’ fails to rhyme convincingly with ‘pass,’ but in that failure assonates and alliterates with ‘questions.’’
    • ‘The oddly alliterated Fervent Fray of Fraternal Fervor, written and directed by Thomas Thompson, is the second festival offering.’
    1. 1.1Use words that begin with the same sound or letter.
      • ‘Make it catchy of course, but rhyme, pun, and alliterate at your own risk.’
      • ‘Canadian commentator Colby Cosh (hey it's Sunday, I'll alliterate if I want) has posted a quick thought on the comparative welfare recipient counts between Alberta and Saskatchewan.’
      • ‘They also - and this is when you know a cricket-writer is really moved - began to alliterate, so Jayasuriya rapidly became the Marauder of Matara.’
      • ‘The Anglo-Saxon tradition of alliterating half lines in verse might be argued an equal influence.’
      • ‘I look up and see fat feathery fledglings flapping furiously, flying fairly fast (look at me, I'm alliterating)!’


Late 18th century: back-formation from alliteration.