Definition of umlaut in English:

umlaut

noun

Linguistics
  • 1A mark ( ¨ ) used over a vowel, as in German or Hungarian, to indicate a different vowel quality, usually fronting or rounding.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘German umlauts appear to be a problem in some cases.’
    • ‘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. 1.1 (especially in Germanic languages) the process by which a back vowel becomes front in the context of another front vowel, resulting, e.g., in the differences between modern German Mann and Männer or (after loss of the inflection) English man and men.
      • ‘Not all vowel gradations are caused by umlaut.’
      • ‘The mutations of a basic vowel by umlaut are of two kinds in OE.’
      • ‘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.’

verb

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

    • ‘How can I use umlauted letters in spelling surnames?’
    • ‘Accented and umlauted vowels, and diacritical marks on consonants must be avoided, because they act as roadblocks and break the speed of a typist.’
    • ‘There are actually 2 ways to make umlauted vowels.’
    • ‘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.’’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

umlaut

/ˈo͝omˌlout//ˈʊmˌlaʊt/