envelope

noun
en·​ve·​lope | \ ˈen-və-ˌlōp How to pronounce envelope (audio) , ˈän- How to pronounce envelope (audio) \

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

Cesar Sayoc, 57 years old, was arrested in Plantation, Fla., in October after manila envelopes containing bombs were sent to President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Mail Bombs to Democrats, Trump Critics," 21 Mar. 2019 Before its latest micro bags hit the runway, the show's invites appropriately came in mini lavender Jacquemus bags and envelopes. Lauren Alexis Fisher, Harper's BAZAAR, "Handbags Are Getting So Small They Can Barely Fit AirPods," 26 Feb. 2019 That’s in part because these are the places most likely to have actual holes cut into the building envelope to make way for pipes and wires. Barbara Eldredge, Curbed, "How to save on utility bills," 25 Jan. 2019 Randall throws away an important envelope in the diner. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Best 'This Is Us' Recap of Episode 10 From Season 3," 16 Jan. 2019 So just back of the envelope: A 30-year mortgage on $238 million, at a pretty solid 3.92% interest rate, comes to about $1,125,228. Jason Gay, WSJ, "For $238 Million, Do They Throw In a Foldout Sofa?," 25 Jan. 2019 The news triggered melancholy among Mormons who have fond memories of the dramatic opening of the envelopes and reading the letter as friends and family watched. Brady Mccombs, Fox News, "No more snail mail: Mormons to receive mission calls online," 6 Sep. 2018 Stick to some of the classic high-school pieces (a corduroy A-line mini skirt, high-top sneakers) and pepper in some more obvious references to the movie: an envelope representing the letters, a scrunchie... Ana Colón, Glamour, "7 Easy Halloween Costumes That Are Very 2018," 4 Oct. 2018 Swift said in an Instagram story thanking Perry and showing off the branch, a note and an envelope decorated with a puppy sticker. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "It Happened. Katy Perry Extended an Actual Olive Branch to Taylor Swift," 8 May 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

11 Apr 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 How to pronounce envelope (audio) , ˈän-\

Kids Definition of envelope

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

envelope

noun
en·​ve·​lope | \ ˈen-və-ˌlōp How to pronounce envelope (audio) , ˈän- How to pronounce envelope (audio) \

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

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