Alliteration is the repetition of
initial sounds in neighboring words.
See Assonance and Consonance.
Alliteration is the genus, whereas, assonance and consonance are the species. So an example would be alliteration and then more specifically and exactly consonance or assonance.
In cliches: sweet smell of success, a dime a dozen, bigger and better, jump for joy
Wordsworth: And sings a solitary song That whistles in the wind.
The matching or repetition of consonants is called alliteration, or the repeating of the same letter (or sound) at the beginning of words following each other immediately or at short intervals. A famous example is to be found in the two lines by Tennyson:
The ancient poets often used alliteration instead of rhyme; in Beowulf there are three alliterations in every line. For example:
Modern poets also avail themselves of alliteration, especially as a substitute for rhyme. Edwin Markham's "Lincoln, the Man of the People" is in unrhymed blank verse, but there are many lines as alliterative as:
Robert Frost's "The Death of the Hired Man" begins:
The eye immediately sees the alliteration in the "m's" in "Mary sat musing" and the "w's" in "Waiting for Warren. When. . . ." But it is the car that picks up the half-buried in "sounds in" lamp-flame sounds which act like faint and distant rhymes.
Like rhyme, alliteration is a great help to memory. It is powerful a device that prose has borrowed it. It is the alliteration which makes us remember such phrases as: "sink or swim," "do or die," "fuss and feathers," "the more the merrier," "watchful waiting," "poor but proud," "hale and hearty," "green as grass," "live and learn," "money makes the mare go."
While alliteration is the recurrence of single letter-sounds, there is another kind of recurrence which is the echo or repetition of a word or phrase. This is found in many kinds of poetry, from nonsense rhymes to ballads. The repeated words or syllables add an extra beat and accentuate the rhythm. They are often heard in "choruses" or "refrains," as in Shakespeare's "With a hey and a ho and a hey nonino" or Rudyard Kipling's:
Fun story filled with alliteration, Pecked by a Pesky Pelican.
For some fun, try Alliteration Plus.
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