envelope

An envelope is something that envelops, or wraps around. It usually refers to the thing you stick a stamp on and snail mail.

In the early 1700s, envelope, the noun for "wrapper," evolved from the French enveloppe, meaning “to envelop.” Envelope is always a noun, unlike the verb envelop which means “to wrap, cloak.” Synonyms for envelope range from casing and enclosure to pouch and sheath. Virginia Woolf said, “Life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning.” She ditched hers by walking into a river with her pockets full of rocks.

Primary Meanings of envelope

1.
n
a flat (usually rectangular) container for a letter, thin package, etc.
2.
n
a curve that is tangent to each of a family of curves
3.
n
the maximum operating capability of a system (especially an aircraft)
Full Definitions of envelope
1

n a flat (usually rectangular) container for a letter, thin package, etc.

Types:
window envelope
an envelope with a transparent panel that reveals the address on the enclosure
Type of:
container
any object that can be used to hold things (especially a large metal boxlike object of standardized dimensions that can be loaded from one form of transport to another)

n any wrapper or covering

Type of:
wrap, wrapper, wrapping
the covering (usually paper or cellophane) in which something is wrapped

n a natural covering (as by a fluid)

“the spacecraft detected an envelope of gas around the comet”
Type of:
cover, covering, natural covering
a natural object that covers or envelops

n the bag containing the gas in a balloon

Synonyms:
gasbag
Type of:
bag
a flexible container with a single opening
2

n a curve that is tangent to each of a family of curves

Type of:
curve, curved shape
the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes
3

n the maximum operating capability of a system (especially an aircraft)

“test pilots try to push the envelope
Type of:
operating capability, performance capability
the capability of a technological system to perform as intended

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