Definition of ablaut in US English:



  • A change of vowel in related words or forms, e.g., in Germanic strong verbs (e.g., in sing, sang, sung)

    as modifier ‘an ablaut series’
    • ‘You can't even distinguish between the preterite and participle Germanic ablauts of English.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are various categories of this: rhyming, exact and ablaut (vowel substitution).’
    • ‘It is the relationship between phonemic pitch and the nature of ablaut in standard Lithuanian which makes this clear.’


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