Simple Definition of emulate
: to try to be like (someone or something you admire)
Examples of emulate in a sentence
If you are talking to someone younger, do not condescend. If you are talking to someone older, back up feelings with facts and never be in such a rush to make your point that you forget the art of listening. And please, no one try to emulate the histrionic, discursive style of any talking heads you see on television. —William Norwich, Vogue, 9 Sept. 2008
Although some schools are postponing new projects because of the faltering economy, others are forging ahead with plans to emulate freshman programs that have long existed at some of the nation's oldest colleges. —Jeninne Lee-St. John, Time, 27 Oct. 2008
I started out emulating Chandler in that first book, maybe the first book and a half, because I was in my novitiate, and whenever I wasn't clear on what to do I would actively think about Chandler and what Marlow would have done. —Robert B. Parker et al., Colloquium on Crime, 1986
She grew up emulating her sports heroes.
artists emulating the style of their teachers
Did You Know?
If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, to paraphrase Charles C. Colton (circa 1780-1832), then past speakers of English clearly had a great admiration for the Latin language. The verb emulate joined the ranks of Latin-derived English terms in 1582. It comes from aemulus, a Latin term for rivaling or envious. Two related adjectives - emulate and emulous - appeared around the same time as the verb emulate. Both mean striving to emulate or sometimes jealous, but emulous is rare these days, and the adjective emulate is obsolete. The latter did have a brief moment of glory, however, when Shakespeare used it in Hamlet:
"Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dar'd to the combat. . . ."
Origin and Etymology of emulate
Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari, from aemulus rivaling
First Known Use: 1582
EMULATE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
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