emulate vs imitate

panzerfaust0

Senior Member
mandarin
Hi. My own understanding is that "emulate" implies that you secretly look up to the person that you are trying to imitate, whereas "imitate" is plain old copying/mimicking, without any hint of admiration on your part. Am I correct, thanks.
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Have you checked our dictionary?

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    emulate /ˈɛmjʊˌleɪt/vb (transitive)
    • to attempt to equal or surpass, esp by imitation
    • to rival or compete with

     

    panzerfaust0

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    Have you checked our dictionary?

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    emulate /ˈɛmjʊˌleɪt/vb (transitive)
    • to attempt to equal or surpass, esp by imitation
    • to rival or compete with

    I did but it actually confused me even further because what I saw is different from what my English-to-Chinese dictionary says.
     

    panzerfaust0

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    Holy shit, I just looked up "emulate" in my real-life, non-electronic, paper-based dictionary and it says the same thing as our dictionary, which is that "the act of trying to equal or surpass esp. by imitating".

    I am now in a very confused state. I could have sworn that "emulate" means trying to imitate sb. because you admire them. It doesn't mean your trying to surpass them.
     

    panzerfaust0

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    I strongly suggest you forget your Chinese-to-English dictionary. We see many problems with those things here.
    Oh...:(

    So "emulate" really does NOT mean you are trying to copy someone out of admiration? God, I have been using this word wrong all this time. I am so embarrassed now.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Also note that there is no such word or standard abbreviation as "sb" Dictionaries use these kind of abbreviations to save space.

    English speakers do not ... ever.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Oh...:(

    So "emulate" really does NOT mean you are trying to copy someone out of admiration? God, I have been using this word wrong all this time. I am so embarrassed now.
    To me emulate means that you have chosen someone as a model that you try to imitate, but it does not mean that you are competing with them, or trying to surpass them.
     

    panzerfaust0

    Senior Member
    mandarin
    To me emulate means that you have chosen someone as a model that you try to imitate, but it does not mean that you are competing with them, or trying to surpass them.
    This is what I thought too, but apparently the two definitions listed in the dictionary disagree with us..I will reproduce them here:


    • to attempt to equal or surpass, esp by imitation
    • to rival or compete with

    You see, this is why I am confused. Nowhere does it say one is imitating out of a sense of admiration.
     
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