- a historical change in the sound of a vowel, caused by its assimilation to another vowel or semivowel originally occurring in the next syllable but later sometimes lost; mutation: in English, the differences of vowel in certain singulars and plurals (Ex.: foot—feet, mouse—mice) or in certain causative verbs and the words from which they are derived (Ex.: gold—gild) are due to the effects of umlaut on the second word of each pair
- a vowel resulting from such assimilation
- the diacritical mark (¨) placed over a vowel, esp. in German, to indicate umlaut
Origin of umlautGer, change of sound ( from um, about + laut, sound, akin to loud): coined (1774) by F. G. Klopstock, German poet, but first used in special senses by Jakob Grimm (1819)
to modify the sound of (a vowel) or write (a vowel) with an umlaut
- a. A change in a vowel sound caused by partial assimilation especially to a vowel or semivowel occurring in the following syllable.b. A vowel sound changed in this manner. Also called vowel mutation .
- The diacritic mark (¨) placed over a vowel to indicate an umlaut, especially in German.
transitive verbum·laut·ed, um·laut·ing, um·lauts
- To modify by umlaut.
- To write or print (a vowel) with an umlaut.
Origin of umlautGerman um- around, alteration ( from Middle High German umb- ) ( from umbe ) ( from Old High German umbi ; see ambhi in Indo-European roots.) Laut sound ( from Middle High German lūt ) ( from Old High German hlūt ; see kleu- in Indo-European roots.)
(plural umlauts or umlaute)
- (linguistics) An assimilatory process whereby a vowel is pronounced more like a following vocoid that is separated by one or more consonants.
- (linguistics) The umlaut process (as above) that occurred historically in Germanic languages whereby back vowels became front vowels when followed by syllable containing a front vocoid (e.g. Germanic lÅ«siz > Old English lÈ³s(i) > Modern English lice).
- (linguistics) A vowel so assimilated.
- (orthography) The diacritical mark (Â¨) placed over a vowel, usually when it indicates such assimilation.
- Although this symbol has the same form as the diaeresis/dieresis, it has as a different function and so in standard and technical usage these two terms are not interchangeable. The term for the diacritic mark, as opposed to its function, is trema.
- When spelling a German word out loud, one can say “(vowel) umlaut" or “umlauted (vowel)". e.g. “a umlaut" or “umlauted a" (Ã¤). (German practice is to say “a Umlaut", or more commonly to pronounce the letters, so the name of "Ã„" is [É›Ë], just as "A" is [aË] and "B" is [beË].)
- In alphabetic orders, "Ã¤, Ã¶, Ã¼" are treated as "a, o, u" in German (so the word lÃ¼gen comes directly after the word lugen). In other languages, such as Swedish, the umlaut letters may have their own position in the alphabet.
- The usual English plural is umlauts, but the form umlaute (after the German) has seen some use. It is quite rare, however.
(third-person singular simple present umlauts, present participle umlauting, simple past and past participle umlauted)
- To place an umlaut over a vowel.