Emulate is a verb that means to copy, to imitate, or to match. “Emulate” comes from the Latin word “Aemulus,” which means “Rival.” It found its way into the English language during the late 1500s, when it began to be used in England.
Emulating someone isn’t always a good thing, but it isn’t always a bad thing, either. You can emulate a role model, for example, by trying to reach the same level of achievement they did by achieving similar victories and looking to them for inspiration. It’s often easier to accomplish something if we have an example to look to.
Emulation can also mean copying someone exactly. If someone were to forge your signature, for example, you could say they were trying to emulate your handwriting. If they are really, really good at forging signatures, you could even say that it was a perfect emulation.
The noun version of emulate is emulation, a word that is usually associated today with computers. Emulation is used in a very similar way to simulation.
In this video, we see a mama cat and her month-old kitten sitting next to each other. Many animals learn how to act by watching older animals at work and emulating their actions. This video is a great example of this (and a particularly adorable one to boot).
One of the most important skills a young kitten learns is how to clean themselves. Much like any kid, this little kitten tries her best to emulate her mother, although she gets distracted and bored more than once.
After making a valiant attempt at cleaning her ears, the kitten keeps emulating its mother, or at least attempting to. This kitten is only a month old, but is still making a good attempt! As the kitten gets older and older, she’ll get better and better at this emulation of her mother.
As one point, the mama cat starts cleaning her paw, which confuses the kitten for a moment. She starts doing it (incorrectly), takes a look at her mom, and then does it again, much more successfully the second time. The little kitten isn’t the best emulator, but she’s able to learn from her mistakes.