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em·​u·​late ˈem-yə-ˌlāt How to pronounce emulate (audio)
emulated; emulating

transitive verb

: to strive to equal or excel
: imitate
especially : to imitate by means of an emulator
: to equal or approach equality with


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em·​u·​late ˈem-yə-lət How to pronounce emulate (audio)
: emulous sense 1b
pricked on by a most emulate prideWilliam Shakespeare

Did you know?

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but we’ll posit that emulation is even more so. What’s the difference between imitating and emulating? Sometimes not a thing: emulate can be used as a synonym of imitate, as in “a painter who emulates her teacher’s style.” But more often, emulate is about trying to equal or surpass someone you admire by striving to master what they’ve accomplished. The word was adopted in the late 16th century from a form of the Latin word aemulārī, meaning “to vie with; to rival; to imitate.” Imitate was adopted about fifty years earlier from a form of the Latin word imitārī, meaning “to follow as a pattern; to copy.” Emulate emulated its success.

Examples of emulate in a Sentence

Verb 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
Recent Examples on the Web
That’s a good start, but there are still many apps that will have to be emulated on these latest Copilot Plus PCs, which is where Microsoft’s Prism emulator comes in. Tom Warren, The Verge, 26 June 2024 The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers hope that a drug emulating this variant of the APOE3 gene, dubbed the Christchurch variant, could similarly defeat or delay Alzheimer's. Peter Weber, theweek, 20 June 2024 It’s widely considered one the greatest defensive plays in baseball, inspiring generations of young ball players to emulate his athleticism. Elizabeth Robinson, NBC News, 19 June 2024 In order to realistically emulate the high-stakes trackside environment, the film has been shot in real-time during various international Grand Prixs. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 18 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for emulate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'emulate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



borrowed from Latin aemulātus, past participle of aemulārī "to vie with, rival, imitate," derivative of aemulus "rivaling, emulous"


borrowed from Latin aemulātus — more at emulate entry 1

First Known Use


1582, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1602, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of emulate was in 1582


Dictionary Entries Near emulate

Cite this Entry

“Emulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/emulate. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


emulated; emulating
: to try to be like or better than

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