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From Latin aemulus (striving to equal or excel, rivaling; in a bad sense, envious, jealous), from Ancient Greek ἁμιλλάομαι (hamilláomai, strive, contend), akin to Latin imitari (to imitate); see imitate.


emulous (comparative more emulous, superlative most emulous)

  1. Ambitious or competitive.
    • 1724, Pharmacopolæ Justificati: Or, Apothecaries Vindicated from the Imputation of Ignorance. Wherein is Shown, that an Academical Education is No Way Necessary to Qualify a Man for the Practice of Physick, London: Printed for J. Roberts, [], OCLC 990820804, page 6:
      [I]f he leaves the School poſſeſs'd of a ſluggiſh indolent Diſpoſition, and of Learning rather forc'd upon him than choſen, it is probable he will forget what he brought thence; but if he be active, emulous and aſpiring, he will certainly find Time for Reading and Thinking; for tho' it be a homely, it is a true Saying, that where there is a Will, there is a Way.
    • 1859, George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, Chapter 1:
      A dozen 'emulous oung persons in, or just out of, pinafores, swift-runners, had taken the field.
    • 1901, Henry James, The Papers:
      They had been always of course, the Papers, very largely about him, but it was not too much to say that at this crisis they were about nothing else worth speaking of; so that our young woman could but groan in spirit at the direful example set to the emulous.

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