Definition of umlaut in English:

umlaut

Syllabification: um·laut
Pronunciation: /ˈo͝omˌlout
 
/
Linguistics

noun

  • 1A mark ( ¨ ) used over a vowel, as in German or Hungarian, to indicate a different vowel quality, usually fronting or rounding.
    More example sentences
    • German umlauts appear to be a problem in some cases.
    • The evidence is that originally the German keyboard produced circumflexes instead of umlauts but it was replaced by an English keyboard.
    • Come on folks, don't you know how to pronounce vowels with umlauts over them?
  • 1.1(Especially in Germanic languages) the process by which a back vowel becomes front in the context of another front vowel, resulting, e.g., in the differences between modern German Mann and Männer or (after loss of the inflection) English man and men.
    More example sentences
    • It is important to note that in many OE words containing vowels affected by umlaut, the /i/ or /j/ in the following unstressed syllable has been lost.
    • Not all vowel gradations are caused by umlaut.
    • The mutations of a basic vowel by umlaut are of two kinds in OE.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • Modify (a form or a sound) by using an umlaut.
    More example sentences
    • Accented and umlauted vowels, and diacritical marks on consonants must be avoided, because they act as roadblocks and break the speed of a typist.
    • That's like the umlauted vowel in the first syllable of the German town name Tübingen.
    • In the choral movement of his ninth symphony, the soprano soloist has to sing her highest note on the umlauted U in flügel, an even more daunting vowel sound than that in ‘who'd.’

Origin

mid 19th century: from German Umlaut, from um 'about' + Laut 'sound'.

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