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1. Eager or ambitious to equal or surpass another.
2. Characterized or prompted by a spirit of rivalry.
3. Obsolete Covetous of power or honor; envious.

[From Latin aemulus; see aim- in Indo-European roots.]

em′u·lous·ly adv.
em′u·lous·ness n.


1. desiring or aiming to equal or surpass another; competitive
2. characterized by or arising from emulation or imitation
3. archaic envious or jealous
[C14: from Latin aemulus rivalling; see emulate]
ˈemulously adv
ˈemulousness n


(ˈɛm yə ləs)

1. filled with emulation; desirous of equaling or excelling.
2. prompted by emulation, as actions or attitudes.
3. Obs. jealous; envious.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin aemulus vying with; see -ulous]
em′u•lous•ly, adv.
em′u•lous•ness, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.emulous - characterized by or arising from emulation or imitation
2.emulous - eager to surpass others
competitive, competitory - involving competition or competitiveness; "competitive games"; "to improve one's competitive position"


1. Full of ambition:
2. Given to competition:
References in classic literature ?
There was an enjoyment in accepting their simple kindness, and in repaying it by a consideration--a scrupulous regard to their feelings--to which they were not, perhaps, at all times accustomed, and which both charmed and benefited them; because, while it elevated them in their own eyes, it made them emulous to merit the deferential treatment they received.
He is not ENVIOUS, but EMULOUS of your attainments.
Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assig'n'd; That they may have thir wish, to trie with mee In Battel which the stronger proves, they all, Or I alone against them, since by strength They measure all, of other excellence Not emulous, nor care who them excells; Nor other strife with them do I voutsafe.
An author who had much to do with preparing me for the quixotic folly in point was that Thomas Babington Macaulay, who taught simplicity of diction in phrases of as "learned length and thundering sound," as any he would have had me shun, and who deplored the Latinistic English of Johnson in terms emulous of the great doctor's orotundity and ronderosity.
Yes, I said, he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour; and sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute; then he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin; then he takes a turn at gymnastics; sometimes idling and neglecting everything, then once more living the life of a philosopher; often he-is busy with politics, and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head; and, if he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off he is in that direction, or of men of business, once more in that.
How did the vexed wind chafe and roar about its stalwart roof; how did it pant and strive with its wide chimneys, which still poured forth from their hospitable throats, great clouds of smoke, and puffed defiance in its face; how, above all, did it drive and rattle at the casement, emulous to extinguish that cheerful glow, which would not be put down and seemed the brighter for the conflict!
a new emulator, one that follows a politically-based and moderate path of emulation, an argument for both greater moderation (and Jonsonian values) in the theater and for the validity of emulative practices in a political sphere, even one that is already laden with emulous factions--if the emulation is in terms of properly chosen models and does not devolve through unfettered ambition to simple rivalry or indecorous actions.
And man appears emulous of nature, for the city below is full of activity; .
Thine emulous fond flowers are dead, too, And the deft sun-assaulter, he That frighted thee so oft, is fled or dead .
Dekker's Jests to Make You Merrie (1607) mentions "a paire of players, growing into an emulous contention of one anothers worth," who "refused to put themselues to a day of hearing (as any Players would haue done)," while The Guls Horn-booke (1609) recommends invitation to "a fencer's supper or to a player's that acts such a part for a wager.
This year has been a special one for Thompson, now a kickboxer training out of North Shields' Emulous Sport gym.
Brooch, a full-sister to Emulous and a half-sister to Caponata, impressed when slamming Duchess Andorra on her debut at Galway and, stepping into listed class in the Ruby gets a hesitant vote.