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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 (def 4a).
the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, as in apt alliteration’s artful aid.
Contemporary Examples

But if you can get past the predilection for alliteration and the teehee!
Why We Worship Derek Jeter (Even If He Kinda Sucks at Shortstop) Robert Silverman February 12, 2014

I congratulated him on a “well-deserved win” and he commended me my alliteration, smiling profusely all the while.
Booker Goes Bookish Lucy Scholes October 18, 2011

Historical Examples

The reader will note the alliteration of the l’s in the third and fourth lines, and the h’s in the next two.
Richard Wagner His Life and His Dramas W. J. Henderson

Nikita, surnamed Necator, with a sinister aptness of alliteration!
Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad

The alliteration is without complexity,–a dreary procession of sibilants.
Milton Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh

The “Cape to Cairo” railroad is another case of alliteration.
Folkways William Graham Sumner

The origins of alliteration in Germanic verse are lost in the general mass of Germanic origins.
English Verse Raymond MacDonald Alden, Ph.D.

alliteration is nearly the only effect of that kind which the ancients had in common with us.
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe

I did so purely for the sake of alliteration, Ana; and I shall make no further allusion to them.
Man And Superman George Bernard Shaw

English poetry has used chiefly rhyme, stress, and alliteration.
A Hundred and Seventy Chinese Poems Various

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

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.
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.”


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