Definition of alliterate in US English:



[no object]
  • 1(of a phrase or line of verse) contain words which begin with the same sound or letter.

    ‘his first and last names alliterated’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘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.’’
    • ‘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 oddly alliterated Fervent Fray of Fraternal Fervor, written and directed by Thomas Thompson, is the second festival offering.’
    1. 1.1 Use words that begin with the same sound or letter.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.