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.

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


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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

Word Origin for emu

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.
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

emu in Science


  1. Abbreviation of electromagnetic unit
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