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Alliteration is a stylistic device, or literary technique, in which successive words (more strictly, stressed syllables) begin with the same consonant sound or letter. Alliteration is a frequent tool in poetry but it is also common in prose, particularly to highlight short phrases. Especially in poetry, it contributes to euphony of the passage, lending it a musical air. It may add a humorous effect. Related to alliteration are assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds, and consonance, the repetition of consonant sounds.

Alliterative verse in one form or another is shared by all of the Germanic languages. In the English language, alliteration occurs in Old English poetry, of which it was a central component. In the Romantic era, it was once more given attention: the Romantics were generally interested in making poetry more musical, and in the ancient heritage of their native languages. Richard Wagner, for instance, used alliteration extensively in his operatic texts. (cf. Stabreim)



Examples of alliteration include well-known tongue-twisters such as "Round the rugged rock the ragged rascal ran" and "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers."

Examples of consonance include "Sparkling...Flavorful...Miller High Life" (advertising slogan for Miller beer).


Common examples

Like rhyme, alliteration is a great help to memory: it is 'catchy', and frequently used in news headlines, corporate names, literary titles, advertising, buzzwords, and nursery rhymes.

At least two notable computer games are named with alliteration:

The Leisure Suit Larry (and other) games often feature alliteration for humorous names of fictional companies, magic spells etc.

Occasionally parents and authors use alliteration in the naming of their children and characters:

It is also common in the naming of many comic book characters:

Stan Lee, co-creator of many comic book super-heroes, has stated that he named many of his characters using alliteration as a mnemonic device as he is creator of many, and often forgets easily.

The 2005 film V for Vendetta depicts the protagonist V introducing himself to Evey Hammond with the following alliterative line:

Voila! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance, a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and voracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so allow me to simply add that it is my very good honor to meet you, and you may call me V.

See also

External links

de:Alliteration es:Aliteración fr:Allitération gl:Aliteración io:Aliteraco it:Allitterazione he:אליטרציה hu:Alliteráció nl:Beginrijm ja:頭韻法 no:Allitterasjon nn:Bokstavrim pl:Aliteracja pt:Aliteração ru:Аллитерация simple:Alliteration sk:Aliterácia fi:Alkusointu sv:Allitteration tl:Aliterasyon

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