Al*lit`er*a"tion (#), n. [L. ad + litera letter. See Letter.]

The repetition of the same letter at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other, or at short intervals; as in the following lines: -

Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheaved His vastness. Milton.

Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields. Tennyson.

⇒ The recurrence of the same letter in accented parts of words is also called alliteration. Anglo-Saxon poetry is characterized by alliterative meter of this sort. Later poets also employed it.

In a somer seson whan soft was the sonne, I shope me in shroudes as I a shepe were. P. Plowman.


© Webster 1913.