Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large, flightless Australian bird (Dromiceius novaehollandiae) related to and resembling the ostrich and the cassowary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large flightless bird native to Australia, Dromaius novaehollandiae.
  • abbr. electromagnetic unit.
  • abbr. emulator

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large Australian bird, of two species (Dromaius Novæ-Hollandiæ and D. irroratus), related to the cassowary and the ostrich. The emu runs swiftly, but is unable to fly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A large Australian three-toed ratite bird of the genus Dromæus (which see), of which there are several species, as D. novæ-hollandiæ, D. ater, and D. irroratus.
  • n. These birds resemble cassowaries, but belong to a different genus and subfamily, and are easily distinguished by having no casque or helmet on the head, which, with the neck, is more completely feathered. The plumage is sooty-brown or blackish, and very copious, like long curly hair, there being two plumes to the quills, so that each feather seems double. The wings are rudimentary, useless for flight, and concealed in the plumage. The emus are intermediate in size between the cassowaries and the ostriches. The species first named above is the one most commonly seen in confinement.
  • n. A genus of cassowaries.
  • n. The specific name of the galeated cassowary of Ceram, in the form emeu.
  • n. The specific name of the east Australian Dromæus novæ-hollandiæ, in the form emu. Stephens.
  • n. An Australian wood used for turners' work.
  • n. A name erroneously applied to the rhea, or South American ostrich.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various systems of units for measuring electricity and magnetism
  • n. large Australian flightless bird similar to the ostrich but smaller

Etymologies

Portuguese ema, rhea.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably from Portuguese ema ("ostrich"), perhaps from Arabic. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The emu is often found in bush (e.g. mallee) or woodland.

    More on what I saw at the zoo

  • Nevertheless, they saw, though unable to get near them, a couple of those large birds peculiar to Australia, a sort of cassowary, called emu, five feet in height, and with brown plumage, which belong to the tribe of waders.

    The Mysterious Island

  • Goldsmith, whose account of the emu is the only one I can refer to, says, “that it is covered from the back and rump with long feathers, which fall backward, and cover the anus; these feathers are grey on the back, and white on the belly.”

    The Expedition to Botany Bay

  • Other animals: African pygmy goats, miniature zebra, several types of antelope, an emu, a kangaroo and more.

    KansasCity.com: Front Page

  • The bird, later identified as an emu named Victoria, was friendly and was accustomed to human contact.

    All Stories

  • Goldsmith, whose account of the emu is the only one I can refer to, says, "that it is covered from the back and rump with long feathers, which fall backward, and cover the anus; these feathers are grey on the back, and white on the belly."

    A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany-Bay

  • The emu is a large flightless bird similar to the ostrich; it breeds in the Australian interior but ranges widely in search of food and water.

    Creative Loafing Atlanta

  • The ostrich is from Africa and is about 25 percent taller than an emu, which is from Australia.

    10News.com - Local News

  • Are animals such as emu, crocodile and kangaroo sustainable to eat?

    Chinalyst - China blogs in English

  • All outlets have unique features, from our Grand Sunday brunch in Café d'Or to our Australian delicacies in the Astral such as emu, crocodile and kangaroo.

    Chinalyst - China blogs in English

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Comments

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  • Great, thanks! I had been stricken with indecision about which pronunciation to use (they're both equally prevalent in American English), but this decides the issue. From now on, I shall emulate the elocutions of the emu experts.

    April 11, 2012

  • The latter.

    April 11, 2012

  • How is this pronounced in Australian English? "ee-moo" or "ee-myoo"?

    April 10, 2012