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[uh-lit-uh-rey-shuh n] /əˌlɪt əˈreɪ ʃən/
the commencement of two or more stressed syllables of a word group either with the same consonant sound or sound group (consonantal alliteration) as in from stem to stern, or with a vowel sound that may differ from syllable to syllable (vocalic alliteration) as in each to all.
Compare consonance (def 4a).
the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, as in apt alliteration's artful aid.
Origin of alliteration
1650-60; < Medieval Latin alliterātiōn-, stem of alliterātiō, equivalent to al- al- + literātiō, modeled after obliterātiō obliteration but intended to convey a derivative of littera letter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for alliteration
  • The alliteration and meter wasn't entirely correct, but it made me laugh.
  • Think of a poet who employs a staff of experts in metaphor, meter, alliteration and lineation to commit an idea to paper.
  • The alliteration and rhyme may pique readers' interest, but the concept of a stapler trying to outwit an animal seems strained.
  • Students pick a favorite song with clean lyrics and use the lyrics to demonstrate poetry devices such as rhyme and alliteration.
  • The language gains extra texture from judicious use of alliteration (""Fire fumed with great fury"").
  • In addition to the rhyme, I also love the alliteration.
  • This background shows through in an over-fondness for clever-clever hyphenation, shaky metaphors and heavy alliteration.
  • We have to love the alliteration - the gloom-doom-room.
  • Her exaggerated alliteration and fabulous gouaches brim with glamour.
  • Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
British Dictionary definitions for alliteration


the use of the same consonant (consonantal alliteration) or of a vowel, not necessarily the same vowel (vocalic alliteration), at the beginning of each word or each stressed syllable in a line of verse, as in around the rock the ragged rascal ran
Derived Forms
alliterative, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin alliterātiō (from Latin al- (see ad-) + litera letter), on the model of obliterātiōobliteration
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for alliteration

1650s, "a begining with the same letter," from Modern Latin alliterationem (nominative alliteratio), noun of action from past participle stem of alliterare "to begin with the same letter," from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + littera (also litera) "letter, script" (see letter). Formed on model of obliteration, etc. Related: Alliterational.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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alliteration in Culture
alliteration [(uh-lit-uh-ray-shuhn)]

The repetition of the beginning sounds of words, as in “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” “long-lived,” “short shrift,” and “the fickle finger of fate.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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