A Definition

  • Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words

When used

  • Alliteration is used the most with poetry, though it is often used subtly and skillfully in prose writing.

Notable Examples

  • from a nursery rhyme my mom likes: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked the peck of pickled peppers, where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?"
  • See this passage from "The Death of King Arthur," translated by Simon Armitage:
The startled glutton glared gruesomely, grinned like a greyhound with grisly fangs then groaned and glowered with a menacing grimace, growling at the good King who greeted him angrily. His mane and his fringe were filthily matted and his face was framed in half a foot of foam. His face and forehead were flecked all over like the features of a frog, so freckled he seemed. He was hook-beaked like a hawk, with a hoary beard, and his eyes were overhung with hairy brows. To whomever looked hard, as harsh as a hound-fish was the hide of that hulk, from head to heel. His ears were huge and a hideous sight, His eyes were horrid, abhorrent and aflame, His smile was all sneer, like a flat-mouthed flounder, and like a bear his fore-teeth were fouled with rank flesh, and his black, bushy beard grew down to his breast. He was bulky as a sea-pig with a brawny body, and each quivering lump of those loathsome lips writhed and rolled with the wrath of a wolf's head. He was broad across the back, with the neck of a bull, badger-breasted with the bristles of a boar, had arms like oak boughs, wrinkled by age, and the ugliest loins and limbs, believe me. He shuffled his shanks, being shovel-footed, and his knock-kneed legs were abnormally knuckled. He was thick in the thigh and like an ogre at the hips, and as gross as a grease-fed pig, a gruesome sight. He who mindfully measured that monster's dimension from face to foot would have found it five fathoms.