[ verb em-yuh-leyt; adjective em-yuh-lit ]
See synonyms for: emulateemulatedemulatesemulating on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),em·u·lat·ed, em·u·lat·ing.
  1. to try to equal or excel; imitate with effort to equal or surpass: to emulate one's father as a concert violinist.

  2. to rival with some degree of success: Some smaller cities now emulate the major capitals in their cultural offerings.

  1. Computers.

    • 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.

    • to replace (software) with hardware to perform the same task.

  1. Obsolete. emulous.

Origin of emulate

First recorded in 1580–90; from Latin aemulātus, past participle of aemulārī “to rival”; see emulous, -ate1

Other words for emulate

Other words from emulate

  • em·u·la·tive, adjective
  • em·u·la·tive·ly, adverb
  • em·u·la·tor, noun
  • non·em·u·la·tive, adjective
  • o·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

Words that may be confused with emulate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use emulate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for emulate


/ (ˈɛmjʊˌleɪt) /

  1. to attempt to equal or surpass, esp by imitation

  2. to rival or compete with

  1. 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

Origin of emulate

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

Derived forms of emulate

  • emulative, adjective
  • emulatively, adverb
  • emulator, noun

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