Figure Name alliteration
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; De Mille (1882); Waddy (1889); Raub (1888) 221; Johnson (1903) ("alliteration"); Kellog (1880) ("alliteration")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms alliteratio, figure of like letter
Etymology None
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Orthographic

1. Repetition of the same letter or sound within nearby words. Most often, repeated initial consonants. (Silva Rhetoricae)

Alliteration is the repetition of the same initial letter of emphatic words. Although the same word is not repeated, yet it may be classes among the iterative figures, since it tends to emphasis by means of repetition:
"The ploughman homeward plods his weary way." (De Mille)

3. This was used by the Teutonic nations in their early poetry. Similar initial sounds were given to emphatic words or syllables, two of which were generally in one line, and one in the line which followed. (De Mille)

3. Alliteration is consistent with elegance. While it destroys both the strength and harmony of discourse to use words that sound alike, it is allowable, even in prose, to begin several successive words with the same letter-and this because it is agreeable to the ear. (Waddy)

4. "the repetition of the same initial letter" (Raub)

5. Alliteration.—The figure of alliteration is pleasant to the ear and helpful to the memory, but with the reason it plays a more important part than it should. Many proverbs and epigrams derive their life and force less from inherent truth than from their alliterative structure and the consequent ease of remembering and repeating them. Antithesis and alliteration are equally guilty of that kind of mischief. Alliteration may be a proper element in any composition, but it may show itself to a greater extent in poetry than in prose, because anything that looks like artificiality is a blemish in a prose style. Alliteration consists simply in a succession of accented syllables that begin with the same sound. It is alliteration as truly when the sound is represented by different letters as when it is represented by the same... (Johnson, 15)

6. IV. ELEGANCE ALLOWS ALLITERATION.-While in a prose sentence words which sound alike are offensive, it is allowable, because agreeable to the ear, to begin several successive words with the same letter. Alliteration, the repetition of the same letter at the beginning of successive words, or words near each other, if not frequent, and obviously striven for, contributes to elegance. (Kellog, 173)


1. Why not waste a wild weekend at Westmore Water Park? (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. "The winds in wonder wist."
"All ye that labor and are heavy laden." (De Mille)

4. "The lingering light of the setting sun" (Raub)

5. Young Phelim felled the cunning kangaroo. (Johnson, 15)

5. Many mellow Cydonian suckets,
Sweet apples, anthosmial, divine,
From the ruby-rimmed beryline buckets,
Star-gemmed, lily-shaped, hyaline:
Like the sweet golden goblet found growing
On tlie wild emerald cucomber-tree.
Rich, brilliant, like chrysoprase glowing.
Was my beautiful Rosalie Lee. (Johnson, 15-16)

5. For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins ;
The days dividing lover and lover.
The light that loses, the night that wins ;
And time remembered is grief forgotten.
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover.
Blossom by blossom, the spring begins.

The full streams feed on flower of rushes,
Ripe grasses trammel a traveling foot.
The faint fresh flame of the young year flushes
From leaf to flower, and flower to fruit;
And fruit and leaf are as gold and fire.
And the oat is heard above the lyre.
And the hoofM heel of a satyr crushes
The chestnut-husk at the chestnut-root. (Johnson, 16)

Kind Of Repetition
Part Of
Related Figures paroemion, homoeoprophoron, acrostic, figures of repetition, figures of sound
Notes I think the example is actually paroemion (alliteration taken to an extreme); whereas a more appropriate example would be a newspaper headline like "Lucky Larry Finally Loses".
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes Would paroemion be a type of alliteration? I'm not sure how you would mark a clear division between the two, if you wanted to. -ark
Reviewed No