alliteration

(redirected from Alliterations)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to Alliterations: Tongue twisters

alliteration

(əlĭt'ərā`shən), the repetition of the same starting sound in several words of a sentence. Probably the most powerful rhythmic and thematic uses of alliteration are contained in Beowulf, written in Anglo-Saxon and one of the earliest English poems extant. For example:
Ða com of more under mist-hleopum
Grendel gongan; Godes yrre baer …
(Then came from the moor, under the misty hills,
Grendel stalking; the God's anger bare).
Beowulf, Book XI
The poet was drawing here on an even older Germanic tradition, just as he was setting a high standard for other poets in Anglo-Saxon, who produced such alliterative works as Widsith, Deor's Lament, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and The Ruin. Although the tradition lay dormant for centuries, an alliterative revival occurred in England in the mid-1400s, as evidenced by such masterworks as Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (see Langland, WilliamLangland, William,
c.1332–c.1400, putative author of Piers Plowman. He was born probably at Ledbury near the Welsh marshes and may have gone to school at Great Malvern Priory. Although he took minor orders he never became a priest.
..... Click the link for more information.
; Pearl, ThePearl, The,
one of four Middle English alliterative poems, all contained in a manuscript of c.1400, composed in the West Midland dialect, almost certainly by the same anonymous author, who flourished c.1370–1390.
..... Click the link for more information.
). Shakespeare parodies alliteration in Peter Quince's Prologue in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely breach'd his boiling bloody breast.
Modern poets have continually renewed the possibilities of alliteration, e.g., Gerard Manley Hopkins's "Pied Beauty":
Glory be to God for dappled things …
Landscapes plotted and pieced—fold, fallow and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

alliteration

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
References in periodicals archive ?
In the first example, we find three stressed-syllable alliterations (and a fourth unstressed) in one line:
Thirdly, in a triple alliteration on consecutive words, one of the alliterations is an unstressed syllable in the middle:
In another example, we find two pairs of alliterations on stressed syllables in one line, with a third pair if one counts the unstressed and stressed can come (though one might read it as a spondee) and with an echo from devil to evil:
Enhanced by the alliteration from the first line, it may link the terminal words of two lines of verse and create a near rhyme.
For example, the weak alliteration of "bitter little embryos spying upon the love life of their parents" (NY) is brought out much more forcefully in the new versions by the addition of "natural nooks," which not only draws attention to itself but also compels a different reading of its immediate context, even to the point of rejuvenating the "dead alliteration" of the cliche "love life": "bitter little embryos spying, from their natural nooks, upon the love life of their parents" (CE, SM).
Another feature of Nabokov's alliteration is his frequent use of what might be called "suballiterative echoing": his combination of voiced consonants with their voiceless counterparts, and vice versa.
Yet another feature of Nabokov's alliteration is the variety of its grammatical and lexical distribution.
But if alliteration is an essential part of the meaning of Speak, Memory, then what exactly are its semantic and rhetorical functions?
But in most verses, finite verbs have metrical stress, as is evident from their position in the line and the pattern of alliteration.
While it is undesirable to have a B with single alliteration on the second stress alone, analogous to the A3s, it is not impossible to construct Bs analogous to doubly alliterating As like Gewat tha ofer waegholm (217a).
In other words, the word that rises out of the B dip virtually has to have categorical stress as well as alliteration.
Here, the alliteration is double in the C, which further clarifies its shape and makes it possible to have a dip after it.