Definition of ablaut in English:



  • [mass noun] Alternation in the vowels of related word forms, especially in Germanic strong verbs (e.g. in sing, sang, sung)

    [as modifier] ‘an ablaut series’
    • ‘There are various categories of this: rhyming, exact and ablaut (vowel substitution).’
    • ‘You can't even distinguish between the preterite and participle Germanic ablauts of English.’
    • ‘It is the relationship between phonemic pitch and the nature of ablaut in standard Lithuanian which makes this clear.’
    • ‘The Proto-Indo-European phonetics was not stable at all: ablauts (vowel interchanges), assimilations, many different consonant processes at the end of the word.’
    • ‘When ablaut is a regular feature of a language's grammar, it is often called vowel gradation.’


Mid 19th century: from German, from ab off + Laut sound.