Definition of assonance in English:


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  • In poetry, the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in nonrhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible (e.g., penitence, reticence)

    Compare with alliteration

    ‘the use of assonance throughout the poem creates the sound of despair’
    • ‘alliterative assonances such as “fail” and “fall” are very common in Old English poetry’
    • ‘Just look at (and, preferably, listen to) his use of assonance - repeated vowel sounds throughout a section.’
    • ‘First, it has the qualities of rhythm, alliteration, and assonance verging on rhyme that we might expect of a memorable turn of phrase.’
    • ‘In all of these cases, the deft repetitions and modulations of consonants and vowels with their subtle assonance and consonance compete for attention with the lines' actual content.’
    • ‘She thinks constantly in metaphors, in assonance, in pretty words that don't mean anything, in ugly words that mean everything.’
    • ‘Lincoln fell in love with metaphors and cadences, assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘He used most of the classic verse forms, but his distinctive contribution was his deployment of assonance, internal rhymes, and half-rhymes.’
    • ‘Most rap still follows the initial formula of rhymed couplets that casually mix full rhyme with assonance.’
    • ‘There's even some assonance in those words that make them all the more compatible.’
    • ‘This is not to say that most poets do not utilize such tools as metaphor, simile, assonance, and other poetic techniques.’
    • ‘She is masterful in her ability to capture and juxtapose the audible qualities of language alongside the literary tools of assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘Even when they employ new or traditional auditory forms, they often tone down the musical effects by deliberately flattening the rhythms, avoiding end-stopped lines, and eliminating noticeable alliteration or assonance.’
    • ‘They must have an obvious, and indeed a kind of danceable, rhythm, and they will normally make use of assonance and alliteration.’
    • ‘The freedom of art, of the poet to act or speak, is controlled by the surface beauty of specific juxtapositions and diversions created by the melody or assonance of language.’
    • ‘The phrase's blend of alliteration (l's, d's and soft t's) and assonance (short i's and long a's) shows a lyricist at the top of his game.’
    • ‘The journey here is as much in the rhythmic ricochet of assonance, produced by colliding syntax, as it is in the actual varying terrain the words themselves represent.’
    • ‘Here, the assonance rhyme between the two principal terms sets the stage for a compelling comparison made on a genuinely imaginative and rather unexpected basis.’
    • ‘The couplets are linked by the repetition of their first lines and the assonance occurring in ‘flag’ and ‘map.’’
    • ‘Walsh's metrical translations mirrored the assonance of the originals.’



/ˈasənəns/ /ˈæsənəns/


Early 18th century from French, from Latin assonare ‘respond to’, from ad- ‘to’ + sonare (from sonus ‘sound’).