[verb em-yuh-leyt; adjective em-yuh-lit]

verb (used with object), em·u·lat·ed, em·u·lat·ing.

to try to equal or excel; imitate with effort to equal or surpass: to emulate one's father as a concert violinist.
to rival with some degree of success: Some smaller cities now emulate the major capitals in their cultural offerings.
  1. to imitate (a particular computer system) by using a software system, often including a microprogram or another computer that enables it to do the same work, run the same programs, etc., as the first.
  2. to replace (software) with hardware to perform the same task.


Obsolete. emulous.

Origin of emulate

1580–90; < Latin aemulātus, past participle of aemulārī to rival. See emulous, -ate1
Related formsem·u·la·tive, adjectiveem·u·la·tive·ly, adverbem·u·la·tor, nounnon·em·u·la·tive, adjectiveo·ver·em·u·late, verb (used with object), o·ver·em·u·lat·ed, o·ver·em·u·lat·ing.un·em·u·la·tive, adjective
Can be confusedemulate immolate

Synonyms for emulate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for emulated

imitate, mimic, mirror, contend, do, ditto, rival, challenge, compete, follow, outvie

Examples from the Web for emulated

Contemporary Examples of emulated

Historical Examples of emulated

  • It is an excellent charity, and one that may well be emulated in other cities.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • Here, at least, was an aristocrat with a spirit to be admired and emulated.

  • Now she sat down with her brother man and emulated him in ready give and take.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • Evidently other boys at her end of the street had emulated John and Bill.

    A Son of the City

    Herman Gastrell Seely

  • Jim rather unsteadily filled; I emulated, but to scanter measure.

    Desert Dust

    Edwin L. Sabin

British Dictionary definitions for emulated


verb (tr)

to attempt to equal or surpass, esp by imitation
to rival or compete with
to make one computer behave like (another different type of computer) so that the imitating system can operate on the same data and execute the same programs as the imitated system
Derived Formsemulative, adjectiveemulatively, adverbemulator, noun

Word Origin for emulate

C16: from Latin aemulārī, from aemulus competing with; probably related to imitārī to imitate
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 emulated



1580s, back-formation from emulation, or else from Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari "to rival." Related: Emulated; emulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper