Definition of envelope
1 : a flat usually paper container (as for a letter)
3a : the outer covering of an aerostatb : the bag containing the gas in a balloon or airship
4a : a natural enclosing covering (such as a membrane, shell, or integument)b : a lipoprotein unit membrane that forms the outer layer of some virions
5a : a curve tangent to each of a family of curvesb : a surface tangent to each of a family of surfaces
6 : a set of performance limits (as of an aircraft) that may not be safely exceeded; also : the set of operating parameters that exists within these limits
7 : a conventionally accepted limit new computers that push the envelope
How do you pronounce envelope?
The \ˈen-\ and \ˈän-\ pronunciations are used with about equal frequency, and both are fully acceptable, though the \ˈän-\ version is sometimes decried as “pseudo-French.” Actually \ˈän-\ is exactly what one would expect to hear when a French word like entrepreneur is becoming anglicized. Envelope, however, has been in English for nearly 300 years, plenty of time for it to become completely anglicized and for both of its pronunciations to win respectability.
Recent Examples of envelope from the Web
Customers also receive an envelope with a surprise coupon inside — ranging from a free doughnut, free dozen or free coffee.
For almost an hour pilots and crew used propane burners to heat the air filling the balloon envelopes and show off some of the unique shapes and designs of their flying machines.
The company claimed to be hiring employees to assist in sending out various materials (including boxes, envelopes, stamps, etc.) to merchants in the United States.
Climate change has begun to shift weather patterns in the US, likely affecting the envelope in which these trees are able to live.
Anti-terrorism police were at the hospital where Papademos was being treated in order to interview him on the details of the envelope.
Their acceptance speeches were interrupted when it was revealed Moonlight was the actual winner, with Beatty and Dunaway having been given the envelope for the wrong category.
The former mayor also split some of the payoff, delivered in envelopes with cash, with another city official, according to prosecutors.
Currently entering beta testing, the program will allow users to print digital postage, called SmartStamp, directly onto their envelopes.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'envelope'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of envelope
ENVELOPE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of envelope for English Language Learners
: an enclosing cover for a letter, card, etc.
ENVELOPE Defined for Kids
Definition of envelope for Students
: a flat usually paper container (as for a letter)
Medical Definition of envelope
: a natural enclosing covering (as a membrane or integument); especially : a lipoprotein unit membrane that forms the outer layer of some virions and surrounds the viral capsid These glycoprotein complexes, swept up by the budding virus as it acquires its envelope, are crucial to HIV's ability to infect new cells.—William A. Haseltine et al., Scientific American, October 1988
Seen and Heard
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