envelope

noun
en·​ve·​lope | \ ˈen-və-ˌlōp, ˈän- \

Definition of envelope

1 : a flat usually paper container (as for a letter)
2 : something that envelops : wrapper the envelope of air around the earth
3a : the outer covering of an aerostat
b : 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 curves
b : 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

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How do you pronounce envelope?: Usage Guide

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.

Examples of envelope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Alexander McQueen sent a shoe down the runway with three buckles, while Sies Marjan pushed the envelope with four rugged straps. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "7 Shoe Trends of 2019 You're Going to Want to Pay Attention To," 7 Jan. 2019 Showing no signs of stopping, from pushing the envelope visually, sonically, politically, Monáe continues to blaze her own trail—inside and out. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Janelle Monáe Steps Out With a Next-Level Braid at the Billboard Women of the Year Event," 7 Dec. 2018 And he's inspired generations of designers—from Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors to Alexander Wang and Jason Wu—to push the envelope while interpreting what American fashion can look like. Ana Colon, Glamour, "50 Years of Ralph Lauren: The Most Iconic Moments," 7 Sep. 2018 Those of you who live south of Zone 6 can push the envelope, opting for varieties that need more time to reach their full potential. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow the Most Gorgeous Chrysanthemums This Fall," 9 Aug. 2018 Billy, who has Cerebral Palsy, was completely stunned when his mom opened the envelope and showed him the contents. Southern Living, "This Reba McEntire Fan’s Reaction to Winning Meet and Greet Passes Will Warm Your Heart, Guaranteed," 27 June 2018 Zemeckis’ history of playing with technical tools and pushing the visual envelope makes Welcome to Marwen play, appropriately enough, like a hybrid. Jesse Hassenger, The Verge, "Welcome to Marwen is Robert Zemeckis’ most revealing movie — and his worst," 20 Dec. 2018 First off, Hiram seems to be running the show here too: Betty sees him show up to exchange some mysterious envelopes with Sister Woodhouse, the nun overseeing the patients’ fizzle rock dosage. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Betty's In Serious Trouble on This Week's Riverdale," 6 Dec. 2018 Ramos-Vasquez carried a manila envelope with his paperwork from ICE. Pamela Ren Larson, azcentral, "Trump administration issues new asylum rules aimed at families arriving at border," 13 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of envelope

circa 1714, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for envelope

Last Updated

17 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for envelope

The first known use of envelope was circa 1714

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More Definitions for envelope

envelope

noun

English Language Learners Definition of envelope

: an enclosing cover for a letter, card, etc.

envelope

noun
en·​ve·​lope | \ ˈen-və-ˌlōp, ˈän-\

Kids Definition of envelope

: a flat usually paper container (as for a letter)

envelope

noun
en·​ve·​lope | \ ˈen-və-ˌlōp, ˈän- \

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on envelope

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with envelope

Spanish Central: Translation of envelope

Nglish: Translation of envelope for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of envelope for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about envelope

Comments on envelope

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