[ ahb-lout, ab-; German ahp-lout ]
/ ˈɑb laʊt, ˈæb-; German ˈɑp laʊt /

noun Grammar.

(in Indo-European languages) regular alternation in the internal phonological structure of a word element, especially alternation of a vowel, that is coordinated with a change in grammatical function or combination, as in English sing, sang, sung, song; apophony.

Origin of ablaut

1840–50; < German, equivalent to ab- off + Laut sound
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Examples from the Web for ablaut

  • The strong verbs form their preterite (originally the perfect) and past participle by means of ablaut ( 12).

British Dictionary definitions for ablaut


/ (ˈæblaʊt, German ˈaplaut) /


linguistics vowel gradation, esp in Indo-European languagesSee gradation (def. 5)

Word Origin for ablaut

German, coined 1819 by Jakob Grimm from ab off + Laut sound
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ablaut



"systematic vowel alteration in the root of a word to indicate shades of meaning or tense," a characteristic of Indo-European languages, 1849, from German Ablaut, literally "off-sound," coined by J.P. Zweigel in 1568 from ab "off" + Laut "sound, tone," from Old High German hlut (see listen). Popularized by Jacob Grimm.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper