[verb em-yuh-leyt; adjective em-yuh-lit]
See more synonyms for emulate 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.
  3. Computers.
    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.
  1. 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

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for emulator

Historical Examples of emulator

British Dictionary definitions for emulator


verb (tr)
  1. to attempt to equal or surpass, esp by imitation
  2. to rival or compete with
  3. 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 emulator

1580s, from Latin aemulator, agent noun from aemulari (see emulation). Computer sense attested by 1965.



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