Meaning of umlaut in English:


Pronunciation /ˈʊmlaʊt/

Translate umlaut into Spanish


  • 1A mark (¨) used over a vowel, especially in German, to indicate a different vowel quality.

    ‘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?’
    • ‘Furthermore, Hungarian, Turkish and Finnish (which are Ural-Altaic languages like Korean and share phonetic qualities with it) also extensively use umlauts.’
    • ‘This changed when the reform-minded leader Kemal Mustafa Attaturk, for better or for worse, adopted a Romanization system which heavily uses umlauts to modify various sounds.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The process in Germanic languages by which the quality of a vowel was altered in certain phonetic contexts, resulting for example in the differences between modern German Mann and Männer.
      ‘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.’


[with object]Linguistics
  • Modify (a form or sound) by using an umlaut.

    ‘the colour of prothetic vowels, unless umlauted by the next syllable, was that of the laryngeal which was vocalized’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘How can I use umlauted letters in spelling surnames?’
    • ‘There are actually 2 ways to make umlauted vowels.’


Mid 19th century from German Umlaut, from um ‘about’ + Laut ‘sound’.