AskDefine | Define assonance

Dictionary Definition

assonance n : the repetition of similar vowels in the stressed syllables of successive words [syn: vowel rhyme]

User Contributed Dictionary



From latin word assonare.


  1. the repetition of similar or identical vowel sounds (though with different consonants), usually in literature or poetry.
    Example: "lifting its big glinting wing, it hit"


Extensive Definition

Assonance is repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences, and together with alliteration and consonance serves as one of the building blocks of verse. For example, in the phrase "Do you like blue?", the "oo" (ou/ue) sound is repeated within the sentence and is assonant.
Assonance is more a feature of verse than prose. It is used in (mainly modern) English-language poetry, and is particularly important in Old French, Spanish and Celtic languages.
The eponymous student of Willy Russell's Educating Rita described it as "getting the rhyme wrong".
Assonance can also be used in forming proverbs, often a form of short poetry. In the Oromo language of Ethiopia, note the use of a single vowel throughout the following proverb, an extreme form of assonance:
  • kan mana baala, aʔlaa gaala (“A leaf at home, but a camel elsewhere"; somebody who has a big reputation among those who do not know him well.)
In more modern verse, stressed assonance has become the main literary device in modern rap, starting with gangsta rap like 2Pac in the 1990's, departing from rap's foundations in the 80's rapper like Slick Rick when rhyme at the end of each line was the cornerstone of poetic expression.

See also

assonance in Bulgarian: Асонанс
assonance in Czech: Asonance
assonance in Estonian: Assonants
assonance in French: Assonance
assonance in Croatian: Asonanca
assonance in Georgian: ასონანსი
assonance in Japanese: 類韻
assonance in Norwegian: Assonans
assonance in Russian: Ассонанс
assonance in Swedish: Assonans
assonance in Walloon: Assounance

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

alliteration, blank verse, chime, clink, consonance, crambo, dingdong, double rhyme, drone, eye rhyme, harping, humdrum, jingle, jingle-jangle, monotone, monotony, near rhyme, paronomasia, pitter-patter, pun, repeated sounds, repetitiousness, repetitiveness, rhyme, rhyme royal, rhyme scheme, rhyming dictionary, single rhyme, singsong, slant rhyme, stale repetition, tail rhyme, tedium, trot, unnecessary repetition, unrhymed poetry
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