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  1. effort or desire to equal or excel others.
  2. Obsolete. jealous rivalry.
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Origin of emulation

First recorded in 1545–55, emulation is from the Latin word aemulātiōn- (stem of aemulātiō). See emulate, -ion
Related formsnon·em·u·la·tion, nouno·ver·em·u·la·tion, noun


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

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British Dictionary definitions for emulation


  1. the act of emulating or imitating
  2. the effort or desire to equal or surpass another or others
  3. archaic jealous rivalry
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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 emulation


1550s, from Middle French émulation (13c.) and directly from Latin aemulationem (nominative aemulatio), from past participle stem of aemulari "to rival, strive to excel," from aemulus "striving, rivaling" (also as a noun, "a rival," fem. aemula), from Proto-Italic *aimo-, from PIE *aim-olo, from root *aim- "copy" (see imitation).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper