Definition of alliteration in US English:



  • The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.

    ‘the alliteration of “sweet birds sang”’
    count noun ‘alliterations are clustered in the last few lines’
    • ‘Her agile command of rhyme, meter, repetition, and alliteration on ‘Rowing Song’ rivals traditional folk classics.’
    • ‘Traditional poetry, with its innate rhythm and alliteration, as well as free verse focusing on social issues, flowed from her pen.’
    • ‘One might pick a different word for rhythm or alliteration.’
    • ‘The section on markers discusses rhyme and alliteration, oppositions, word repetition, paradox, metaphor, pithiness and aspects of the syntax of proverbs.’
    • ‘Strange is masterful in her ability to capture and juxtapose the audible qualities of language alongside the literary tools of assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘Storybooks containing alliteration provide opportunities for children to hear words that have the same beginning sounds.’
    • ‘In the poet's medieval French, the verse displays intricate internal rhymes and numerous alliterations.’
    • ‘The 1959 set also had Keystone Combo, which is an even higher form of alliteration where the two words sound alike but begin with different letters.’
    • ‘They could add descriptive words, phrases or sentences, or they could write a poem, haiku, alliteration, metaphor, or perhaps words from a song.’
    • ‘It is all too easy to enforce that students give speeches that have attention getters, transitions, and summaries and that make occasional use of metaphor or alliteration.’
    • ‘So, too, do children love the rhyming, chanting, and alliteration of nursery rhymes.’
    • ‘Fourthly, there is a subtle, but powerful alliteration in the fourth line of the second strophe, ‘Amidst an ocean full of flying fishes’.’
    • ‘All that assonance and alliteration, though not perfectly obvious, come to hand fairly readily.’
    • ‘‘It sounds a lot more like an exercise in alliteration than some stunning personal insult,’ he said.’
    • ‘Lincoln fell in love with metaphors and cadences, assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘Well, I've decided on a name that has a radical feel (it's a tad ethnic), contains alliteration and just sounds kinda smart.’
    • ‘Indeed, the use of alliteration in Old English poetry and in Piers Ploughman might also have influenced his poetic style.’
    • ‘What he admired in these poets was their inventive use of word and sound in every device of onomatopoeia, alliteration, pun and palindrome.’
    • ‘With a traditional ballad you may notice the rhyme scheme or alliteration.’
    • ‘In the first pair of lines, Wagner uses alliteration so deftly that the reader can notice and appreciate it without flinching from a barrage of like sounds.’


Early 17th century: from medieval Latin alliteratio(n-), from Latin ad- (expressing addition) + littera ‘letter’.