Word of the day – Emulate

Word of the Day : July 8, 2020


verb EM-yuh-layt


1 a : to strive to equal or excel

b : imitateespecially : to imitate by means of hardware or software that permits programs written for one computer to be run on another computer

2 : to equal or approach equality with

Did you know?

If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, 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 the 16th century. It comes from aemulus, a Latin term for “rivaling” or “envious.” Two related adjectives—emulate and emulous—appeared within a half-century of the verb emulate. Both mean “striving to emulate; marked by a desire to imitate or rival” or sometimes “jealous,” but emulous is rare these days and the adjective emulate is obsolete.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 William 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….”


Younger children will often try to emulate the behavior of their older siblings.

“As part of its subsequent push to emulate the West, Meiji-era Japan encouraged the production of domestic versions of that same whiskey. Japanese distillers often used sweet potatoes, which were abundant, but they produced a much different spirit than the barley, corn and rye used in Scotland and America.” — Clay Risen, The New York Times, 29 May 2020