[oo m-lout]Linguistics
  1. a mark (¨) used as a diacritic over a vowel, as ä, ö, ü, to indicate a vowel sound different from that of the letter without the diacritic, especially as so used in German.Compare dieresis.
  2. Also called vowel mutation. (in Germanic languages) assimilation in which a vowel is influenced by a following vowel or semivowel.
verb (used with object)
  1. to modify by umlaut.
  2. to write an umlaut over.

Origin of umlaut

1835–45; < German, equivalent to um- about (i.e., changed) + Laut sound Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for umlaut

Historical Examples of umlaut

British Dictionary definitions for umlaut


  1. the mark (¨) placed over a vowel in some languages, such as German, indicating modification in the quality of the vowelCompare diaeresis
  2. (esp in Germanic languages) the change of a vowel within a word brought about by the assimilating influence of a vowel or semivowel in a preceding or following syllable

Word Origin for umlaut

C19: German, from um around (in the sense of changing places) + 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 umlaut

1852, from German umlaut "change of sound," from um "about" (see ambi-) + laut "sound," from Old High German hlut (see listen). Coined 1774 by poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724-1803) but first used in its current sense 1819 by linguist Jakob Grimm (1785-1863).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper