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 On one, a voter signed on the wrong part of the envelope. Author: John Wagner, Rosalind S. Helderman, Anchorage Daily News, "Missouri senator announces he will contest certification of electoral college vote," 31 Dec. 2020 That information is also required as part of the return envelope to thwart others from stealing ballots or submitting them using false identities. Torey Van Oot Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Top Minnesota election official defends integrity of mail-in ballots," 30 Sep. 2020 There, at a tiny wooden doorway, Crea drew out a white envelope from his suit pocket, ripped it open and pulled out a small silvery-brass key. Star Tribune, "AP PHOTOS: Sistine Chapel key-keeper opens up after lockdown," 7 Feb. 2021 If the signature does match, the ballot is separated from the envelope to protect the right to ballot secrecy guaranteed by Georgia law. Kate Brumback, chicagotribune.com, "Trump calls on Republican governor of Georgia to resign: ‘Fools!’," 31 Dec. 2020 Within the envelope was a tie-dye, blue-grey pouch with a silky, moss green lining – and therein was my Aer: matte, smooth, and about the size of a small mango. Mary Frances Knapp, refinery29.com, "Dame’s Suction Vibrator Feels Like Getting Oral From A Cloud," 1 Feb. 2021 The white envelope has a red notice printed on it, claiming this mailing wasn't a bill or an advertisement. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Blue Visa card looks like a stimulus scam. But it's not," 22 Jan. 2021 The problem is that the majority did not put a return address on the card or envelope. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Boyfriend using dating app to ‘make friends’ not worth moving for," 12 Jan. 2021 If the signature does match, the ballot is separated from the envelope to protect the right to ballot secrecy guaranteed by Georgia law. Kate Brumback, chicagotribune.com, "Trump calls on Republican governor of Georgia to resign: ‘Fools!’," 31 Dec. 2020

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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Learn More about envelope

Time Traveler for envelope Time Traveler

The first known use of envelope was circa 1714

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Statistics for envelope

Last Updated

4 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Envelope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/envelope. Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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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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