Definition of alliteration in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˌlidəˈrāSH(ə)n/


The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
Example sentences
  • With a traditional ballad you may notice the rhyme scheme or alliteration.
  • What he admired in these poets was their inventive use of word and sound in every device of onomatopoeia, alliteration, pun and palindrome.
  • The section on markers discusses rhyme and alliteration, oppositions, word repetition, paradox, metaphor, pithiness and aspects of the syntax of proverbs.


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

  • letter from Middle English:

    English adopted letter from Old French in the 13th century. Its ultimate source is Latin lit(t)era, from which literal (Late Middle English), literature (Late Middle English), and alliteration (early 17th century) also derive—the Latin word meant ‘written communication or message’ as well as ‘letter of the alphabet’, and both senses came over into English. The phrase to the letter ‘to the last detail’ has a parallel in French au pied de la lettre, which people of a literary bent have also used in English. See also alphabet

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: al·lit·er·a·tion

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