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Two umlaut diacritics used on the same page of an old book: two dots above the first a, a small e above the second one. Umlaut was originally represented by a following e, then an e above: e resembled two slanted, mostly vertical lines in German handwriting, hence the simplification to two lines (resembling ʺ ) and finally to two dots.
Development of the umlaut in German handwriting.


Borrowed from German Umlaut in the 19th century, from um- or um (around, re-, trans-) + Laut (sound), from Old High German hlūt. More at umb, loud.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈʊm.laʊt/, /ˈʌm.laʊt/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈʊm.laʊt/, /ˈum.laʊt/
  • (file)


umlaut (plural umlauts or umlaute)

  1. (linguistics) An assimilatory process whereby a vowel is pronounced more like a following vocoid that is separated by one or more consonants.
  2. (linguistics) The umlaut process (as above) that occurred historically in Germanic languages whereby back vowels became front vowels when followed by syllable containing a front vocoid (e.g. Germanic lūsiz > Old English lȳs(i) > Modern English lice).
  3. (linguistics) A vowel so assimilated.
  4. (orthography) The diacritical mark ( ¨ ) placed over a vowel when it indicates a (rounded) front vowel
  5. (informal, orthography) Synonym of diaeresis
    Naive takes an umlaut as it's pronounced as two syllables.

Usage notesEdit

  • Although this symbol has the same form as the diaeresis/dieresis, it has as a different function and so in standard and technical usage these two terms are not interchangeable. The term for the diacritic mark, as opposed to its function, is trema.
  • When spelling a German word out loud, one can say “(vowel) umlaut” or “umlauted (vowel)”. e.g. “a umlaut” or “umlauted a” (ä). (German practice is to say “a Umlaut”, or more commonly to pronounce the letters, so the name of "Ä" is [ɛː], just as "A" is [aː] and "B" is [beː].)
  • In alphabetic orders, "ä, ö, ü" are treated as "a, o, u" or "ae, oe, ue" in German (so the word lügen comes directly after or before the word lugen). In other languages, such as Swedish, the umlaut letters may have their own position in the alphabet.
  • The usual English plural is umlauts, but the form umlaute (after the German) has seen some use. It is quite rare, however.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


umlaut (third-person singular simple present umlauts, present participle umlauting, simple past and past participle umlauted)

  1. (transitive) To place an umlaut over (a vowel).
  2. (linguistics, transitive) To modify (a word) so that an umlaut is required in it.
    an umlauting vowel

See alsoEdit




Borrowed from German Umlaut.



  1. umlaut (assimilation a->ä, o->ö or u->ü in German and some closely related languages)


Inflection of umlaut (Kotus type 5/risti, no gradation)
nominative umlaut umlautit
genitive umlautin umlautien
partitive umlautia umlauteja
illative umlautiin umlauteihin
singular plural
nominative umlaut umlautit
accusative nom. umlaut umlautit
gen. umlautin
genitive umlautin umlautien
partitive umlautia umlauteja
inessive umlautissa umlauteissa
elative umlautista umlauteista
illative umlautiin umlauteihin
adessive umlautilla umlauteilla
ablative umlautilta umlauteilta
allative umlautille umlauteille
essive umlautina umlauteina
translative umlautiksi umlauteiksi
instructive umlautein
abessive umlautitta umlauteitta
comitative umlauteineen





Borrowed from German Umlaut.


umlaut m (genitive singular umlaut, plural umlautyn)

  1. (linguistics, orthography) umlaut



umlaut m (plural umlauts)

  1. (linguistics) umlaut (partial assimilation of a vowel in Germanic languages)
  2. (orthography) umlaut (the diacritical mark ¨ used to indicate such assimilation)