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  1. a large, flightless, ratite bird, Emu (Dromaius) novaehollandiae, of Australia, resembling the ostrich but smaller and having a feathered head and neck and rudimentary wings.
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Origin of emu

1605–15; earlier emeu (in earliest E source emia, eme), ultimately < Portuguese ema, attested in 1541 as a name for the cassowary (further origin obscure); the replacement of -a by -eu, etc., is unexplained


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for emu


  1. a large Australian flightless bird, Dromaius novaehollandiae, similar to the ostrich but with three-toed feet and grey or brown plumage: order CasuariiformesSee also ratite
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Word Origin

C17: changed from Portuguese ema ostrich, from Arabic Na-`amah ostrich


abbreviation for
  1. European Monetary Union
  2. Economic and Monetary Union
  3. See e.m.u.
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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 emu


"large Australian bird," 1610s, probably from Portuguese ema "crane, ostrich," of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

emu in Science


  1. Abbreviation of electromagnetic unit
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.