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alliteration

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n alliteration use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable in a line of verse "around the rock the ragged rascal ran"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Alliteration The repetition of the same letter at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals; as in the following lines: -☞ The recurrence of the same letter in accented parts of words is also called alliteration. Anglo-Saxon poetry is characterized by alliterative meter of this sort. Later poets also employed it. "Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved
      His vastness."
      "Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.""In a somer seson whan soft was the sonne,
      I sh ope me in sh roudes as I a sh epe were."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n alliteration The repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of two or more words in close or immediate succession; the recurrence of the same initial sound in the first accented syllables of words; initial rime: as, many men, many minds.
    • n alliteration Alliteration was a characteristic of old Teutonic poetry (Anglo-Saxon and Middle English, Old Saxon, Icelandic, etc.), terminal rime, as a regular feature, being of later (Romance) introduction. The lines were divided into two sections, the first having regularly two alliterating syllables, the second one; but by license or mere accident four or more alliterating syllables might occur, as in the last line of the extract from Piers Plowman. The alliterating syllable was always accented, and was not necessarily initial, as written; it might follow an unaccented prefix, as ar-raye in the extract. The vowels, being all more or less open and easy of utterance, might alliterate with one another. In Churchill's line “Apt alliteration's artful aid,” given above, the initial vowel-sounds are different (a, a or a, ȧ, ā), though spelled with the same letter. The following is an example of Middle English alliteration:
    • n alliteration Chaucer's verse is cast on the Romance model with final rime, but he often uses alliteration as an additional ornament:
    • n alliteration Such alliteration is much affected by Spenser and his imitators, and occurs with more or less frequency in all modern poetry.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Alliteration al-lit-ėr-ā′shun the recurrence of the same letter at the beginning of two or more words following close to each other, as in Churchill's 'apt alliteration's artful aid:' the recurrence of the same initial sound in the first accented syllables of words: initial rhyme—the characteristic structure of versification of Old English and Teutonic languages generally. Every alliterative couplet had two accented syllables, containing the same initial consonants, one in each of the two sections
    • ***

Quotations

  • Charles Churchill
    Charles Churchill
    “Who often, but without success, have prayed for apt Alliteration's artful aid.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. ad, + litera, letter. See Letter
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.—L. ad, to, and litera, a letter.

Usage

In literature:

It will be seen that much of the melody of 'The Raven' arises from alliteration, and the studious use of similar sounds in unusual places.
"The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Volume 5 (of 5) of the Raven Edition" by Edgar Allan Poe
Nikita, surnamed Necator, with a sinister aptness of alliteration!
"Under Western Eyes" by Joseph Conrad
The alliteration will help me.
"Ten Years Later" by Alexandre Dumas, Pere
They were poems, by reason of their use of metaphor, alliteration, assonance, and imagination.
"Chapters on Jewish Literature" by Israel Abrahams
Everybody knows that alliteration was a principle of Icelandic verse.
"The Influence of Old Norse Literature on English Literature" by Conrad Hjalmar Nordby
Alliteration tyrannises over him.
"Reviews" by Oscar Wilde
Find examples of Euphuistic hyperbole in iv, of alliteration in xiv.
"Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I" by Edmund Spenser
Alliterations, why agreeable, xxii.
"Zoonomia, Vol. I" by Erasmus Darwin
By alliteration, balance, or rhyme, it may please the ear.
"How To Write Special Feature Articles" by Willard Grosvenor Bleyer
The rule for the avoidance of alliteration, rhyme, and assonance was extended to the foreign symbols, and to the two terms of a couplet.
"Harvard Psychological Studies, Volume 1" by Various
An accurate line-for-line translation, using alliteration occasionally, and sometimes assuming a metrical cadence.
"Beowulf"
How's that for alliteration?
"The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes" by Israel Zangwill
At the end of the third speech, metaphor had failed to move it, and alliteration had ceased to evoke applause.
"The Voice of the People" by Ellen Glasgow
The change increased the effect of the alliteration.
"The Vision of Sir Launfal" by James Russell Lowell
Deacon, as the title of his book just quoted shows, was very fond of alliteration, and one sentence of his diatribe may be quoted.
"The Social History of Smoking" by G. L. Apperson
Do not perjure yourself for the sake of alliteration.
"A Mysterious Disappearance" by Gordon Holmes
The diction of this passage, with its alliteration and simile, shows that it is taken from some old poem.
"Anglo-Saxon Primer" by Henry Sweet
Alliteration, as an ornament, must be distinguished from alliteration as the essential character of metre.
"The English Language" by Robert Gordon Latham
In this title, "apt alliteration's artful aid" not only appeals to our ear, but is also fully justified by history.
"Stained Glass Tours in France" by Charles Hitchcock Sherrill
Now it was asked him in perfect good faith, and the name of his own home was added to the alliteration.
"Harvard Stories" by Waldron Kintzing Post
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In poetry:

By pure Alliteration
You may trace this curious nation,
And respect this somewhat scattered principality;
When you see a B in Both
You may take your Bible oath
You are violating Belgian neutrality.
"Alliterativism" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
By pure Alliteration
You may trace this curious nation,
And respect this somewhat scattered Principality;
When you see a B in Both
You may take your Bible oath
You are violating Belgian neutrality.
"The Latest School" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton

In news:

Okay, now that the primate puns (and attendant alliteration) are out of the way, seriously take a look at this baby macaque.
Paton gives Kirkpatrick her own alliteration .
Alliteration the tested triumph of truth.
The alliterations are endless when it comes to creatures that send shivers up our spines and goosebumps down our legs.
OK, that's not the most accurate headline in the world, but hopefully it got you reading this far … and besides my readers know I love alliteration.
Alliteration was at the festive fore with "Pearls of Pride and Promise" and People's Program amassing their own.
Rainier Beer – Recollect, Relight & Other Alliterations.
Rainier Beer – Recollect, Relight & Other Alliterations.
Binders Full of Alliteration.
Weddings, concerts and mass meditations are planned for the last alliteration date this century.
The daily drumbeat of depressing details about the deadlock in DC has created an unexplainable and unpleasant uptick in anxious and addictive alliteration.
Sean Kluesner and Lisa Brashear will be married Wednesday, an auspicious date for numerologists, as well as folks who just like numerical alliteration.
The Italian language has a beautiful ring with lyrical words that dance with alliteration.
Borrowing the practice of alliteration from my pastor, I must say I have found the effort one worthwhile, wondrous and sometimes a test of willpower.
I should have also added the word "enigma" to the title of this post, but it would have messed up my alliteration.
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