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.

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

1580s, back-formation from emulation, or else from Latin aemulatus, past participle of aemulari “to rival.” Related: Emulated; emulating.

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