Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large, flightless Australian bird (Dromaius novaehollandiae) that has shaggy brown plumage and is raised for its meat, oil, and leather.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An Australian wood used for turners' work.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A genus of cassowaries.
  • noun The specific name of the galeated cassowary of Ceram, in the form emeu.
  • noun The specific name of the east Australian Dromæus novæ-hollandiæ, in the form emu. Stephens.
  • noun A name erroneously applied to the rhea, or South American ostrich.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) 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.
  • noun See in the Vocabulary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A large flightless bird native to Australia, Dromaius novaehollandiae.
  • abbreviation electromagnetic unit.
  • abbreviation computing, video games, informal emulator

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Portuguese ema, rhea.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Portuguese ema ("ostrich"), perhaps from Arabic.

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

  • 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

  • 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 Secret of the Island

  • 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

Comments

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

    April 10, 2012

  • The latter.

    April 11, 2012

  • 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