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.

Definitions of envelope
  1. noun
    a flat (usually rectangular) container for a letter, thin package, etc.
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    window envelope
    an envelope with a transparent panel that reveals the address on the enclosure
    type of:
    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)
  2. noun
    any wrapper or covering
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    type of:
    wrap, wrapper, wrapping
    the covering (usually paper or cellophane) in which something is wrapped
  3. noun
    a natural covering (as by a fluid)
    “the spacecraft detected an envelope of gas around the comet”
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    type of:
    cover, covering, natural covering
    a natural object that covers or envelops
  4. noun
    the bag containing the gas in a balloon
    synonyms: gasbag
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    type of:
    a flexible container with a single opening
  5. noun
    a curve that is tangent to each of a family of curves
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    type of:
    curve, curved shape
    the trace of a point whose direction of motion changes
  6. noun
    the maximum operating capability of a system (especially an aircraft)
    “test pilots try to push the envelope
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    type of:
    operating capability, performance capability
    the capability of a technological system to perform as intended
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