Definition of assonance in English:



  • In poetry, the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in nonrhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible (e.g., penitence, reticence)

    Compare with alliteration
    • ‘Most rap still follows the initial formula of rhymed couplets that casually mix full rhyme with assonance.’
    • ‘In all of these cases, the deft repetitions and modulations of consonants and vowels with their subtle assonance and consonance compete for attention with the lines' actual content.’
    • ‘He used most of the classic verse forms, but his distinctive contribution was his deployment of assonance, internal rhymes, and half-rhymes.’
    • ‘She thinks constantly in metaphors, in assonance, in pretty words that don't mean anything, in ugly words that mean everything.’
    • ‘Walsh's metrical translations mirrored the assonance of the originals.’
    • ‘The journey here is as much in the rhythmic ricochet of assonance, produced by colliding syntax, as it is in the actual varying terrain the words themselves represent.’
    • ‘Just look at (and, preferably, listen to) his use of assonance - repeated vowel sounds throughout a section.’
    • ‘There's even some assonance in those words that make them all the more compatible.’
    • ‘First, it has the qualities of rhythm, alliteration, and assonance verging on rhyme that we might expect of a memorable turn of phrase.’
    • ‘The freedom of art, of the poet to act or speak, is controlled by the surface beauty of specific juxtapositions and diversions created by the melody or assonance of language.’
    • ‘The phrase's blend of alliteration (l's, d's and soft t's) and assonance (short i's and long a's) shows a lyricist at the top of his game.’
    • ‘This is not to say that most poets do not utilize such tools as metaphor, simile, assonance, and other poetic techniques.’
    • ‘Here, the assonance rhyme between the two principal terms sets the stage for a compelling comparison made on a genuinely imaginative and rather unexpected basis.’
    • ‘The couplets are linked by the repetition of their first lines and the assonance occurring in ‘flag’ and ‘map.’’
    • ‘She is masterful in her ability to capture and juxtapose the audible qualities of language alongside the literary tools of assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘They must have an obvious, and indeed a kind of danceable, rhythm, and they will normally make use of assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘Lincoln fell in love with metaphors and cadences, assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘Even when they employ new or traditional auditory forms, they often tone down the musical effects by deliberately flattening the rhythms, avoiding end-stopped lines, and eliminating noticeable alliteration or assonance.’


Early 18th century: from French, from Latin assonare respond to from ad- to + sonare (from sonus sound).