What tdoes the term "alliteration" mean to you?

I disagree - alliteration is for consonants (actually, it’s the subclass of consonance where the repeat is of the stressed syllable). Vowel repetition is assonance, although some definitions of the latter seem to say it’s only vowel repetition on the unstressed syllables…

At least, it’s certain that it’s parachesis :).

I was tempted to vote that all of them are alliterative, since I’m a descriptivist and I don’t think words are limited to a single meaning, but I assumed that you wanted to be technically right (since that’s the best kind of right) and so went with what I believe was the most common technical meaning: repetition of an initial sound (so Matt Murdock, Clark Kent, and Fanny Phelps are alliterative.) It didn’t occur to me that Clark Kent might be disqualified since Clark begins with a consonant cluster that differs from Kent, and I still don’t think it disqualifies it outside of some narrow phonological research context in which you would define all your terms explicitly anyway.

I’d never heard of alliteration referring only to initial consonant sounds, but I’m not shocked that it has an even more technical definition than the one I was taught in school. OTOH, the dictionaries I checked were split on whether they mentioned that meaning at all.

Merriam-Webster was especially interesting. They’ve updated all their online entries with shortened and simplified definitions presented in a gray box before the “full” definitions. For alliteration, the full definition specifies “the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables.” There is no second meaning given, and it’s unclear whether “usually” modifies “initial” or “consonant.” The simplified definition, OTOH, says “the use of words that begin with the same sound near one another.”

But all of that is beside the point. I’m really posting just to share one of my favorite cryptic crossword clues (which will make more sense if you’re generally aware of cryptics): “initial repetition is only repetition after all.”

The initial consonant sound /n/ is repeated in subsequent words. Further the initial /n/ is repeated in another syllable and the alliterative effect is strengthened by the final /n/ as well. It does not matter if the initial consonant is preceded by a vowel, it is still the initial consonant. “Only enter into another unit Nancy.” is IMHO alliterative

Not counting “unit,” I presume.

Dang. Good catch … better would be -

“No nonsense Einstein. Aint none know? Eentsy gnomes only enter into ownership in another nice unlit neighborhood and on November 9th.”

Don’t make me shoot you

It’s sounds, not symbols. The concept comes from the spoken, not written word.

Though I guess, like eye rhymes, there might be eye alliteration.

The hardest for me was Clark Kent. That’s when I realized that to me, the first sound is CL in Clark but just K in Kent. If I separate it and say Kuh lark Kent, then it would be alliterative, but I don’t I say CL ark Kent with the CL pronounced with tip of tongue on roof of mouth and the K with the tip of tongue at base of teeth.


Matt Murdock
Clark Kent
Fanny Phelps

Spelling doesn’t matter to me. Sounds do.

Not Alliterative

Phyllis Peterson
Charles Christopher

Same letters but different sounds? Not alliterative.

Did I get it right?

It needn’t be the entire consonant cluster, just the initial sound. For example, “consonant cluster” there was alliterative, as is “babbling brook” and “Clark Kent.”

And Kent certainly did babble like a Brook, at least when played by Christopher Reeve.

How about affricates? Does " Jamed Dean" count? “Tom Charles”?

Fair enough - so it looks like it’s possible for something to be both assonant and alliterative…

This - 2 words do not make an alliteration.
I voted no for all.

Just my, non researched opinion.

You were right the first time, Dibble!

The initial consonant sound in the definition of alliteration refers to not to the first consonant in the word, but rather to consonant BEGINNING the word. If there is no such consonant – that is, if the first syllable of the word has no onset – then that word cannot be alliterative with anything, not even by elvish standards.

I voted no for all. I need more than having two words with the initial sounds being the same. Dylan’s “I gaze back to the streets, the sidewalks, and the signs” is alliterative. You need multiple instances (more than two) of the same sound, not necessarily in the same position in each word.

I’m not aware of any definition that requires it to be more than two words. And it is always initial consonant sound, not anywhere in the word. That type of repetition is consonance.

I know this one! It’s a false friend with Spanish, I learned that in the Pit!

Alliterative means that there’s several words starting with the exact same consonant.

Aliterativo means that some sounds repeat a lot, they do not need to be consonants, they do not need to be the first one and they do not need to be identical.

Nm. Misunderstood the post.

Better alliterative song example is “Wordlessly watching he waits by the window and wonders…” IMHO

You said no Wikipedia, but you did not say I couldn’t call my friend the English professor. :smiley:

According to the prof, alliteration is realized when TWO OR MORE words begin with the same consonant sound (red rock or stout stick). There is such a thing as vowel alliteration, but it is generally ignored and considered antequated usage.