push the envelope
Envelope En"vel*ope (?; 277), Envelop En*vel"op (?; 277), n. [F. enveloppe.] 1. That which envelops, wraps up, encases, or surrounds; a wrapper; an inclosing cover; esp., the cover or wrapper of a document, as of a letter. [1913 Webster]

2. (Astron.) The nebulous covering of the head or nucleus of a comet; -- called also {coma}. [1913 Webster]

3. (Fort.) A work of earth, in the form of a single parapet or of a small rampart. It is sometimes raised in the ditch and sometimes beyond it. --Wilhelm. [1913 Webster]

4. (Geom.) A curve or surface which is tangent to each member of a system of curves or surfaces, the form and position of the members of the system being allowed to vary according to some continuous law. Thus, any curve is the envelope of its tangents.

4. A set of limits for the performance capabilities of some type of machine, originally used to refer to aircraft; -- it is often described graphically as a two-dimensional graph of a function showing the maximum of one performance variable as a function of another. Now it is also used metaphorically to refer to capabilities of any system in general, including human organizations, esp. in the phrase push the envelope. It is used to refer to the maximum performance available at the current state of the technology, and therefore refers to a class of machines in general, not a specific machine. [PJC]

{push the envelope} to increase the capability of some type of machine or system; -- usually by technological development. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • push the envelope — ► to go further than the usual limits by doing something new, dangerous, etc.: »We re really pushing the envelope on this technology; a lot of other companies are just playing catch up. Main Entry: ↑envelope …   Financial and business terms

  • push the envelope — This means to go to the limits, to do something to the maximum possible …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • push the envelope — phrasal : to test or attempt to move beyond an accepted limit * * * push the envelope (informal) To try to achieve more than seems possible • • • Main Entry: ↑envelop * * * push the envelope informal phrase to go to the limits of what you are… …   Useful english dictionary

  • push the envelope —    This means to go to the limits, to do something to the maximum possible.   (Dorking School Dictionary)    ***    When you push the envelope, you do something in an extreme way or exceed the limits of what is considered acceptable.     Some TV… …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • push the envelope — challenge yourself, innovate, take risks, think outside the box    If we are going to lead this industry, we need to push the envelope …   English idioms

  • push the envelope — push (the edge of) the envelope to move beyond the limit of what has usually been done or was the accepted standard. TV shows are really pushing the envelope by showing so much sex and violence …   New idioms dictionary

  • push the envelope — ► push the (edge of the) envelope informal approach or extend the limits of what is possible. [ORIGIN: originally aviation slang, relating to graphs of aerodynamic performance.] Main Entry: ↑envelope …   English terms dictionary

  • push the envelope — Meaning Go to the limits of known performance. Origin Originated with aeroplane industry where the limits of a plane s performance were marked on a two dimensional graph. The envelope is the area of the graph that indicates safe usage. In use… …   Meaning and origin of phrases

  • push the envelope — vb American to test or extend limits, go too far. The term, used in fiction by Tom Wolfe and John Grisham, derives from the jargon of test pilots: the envelope is the ulti mate technical capability as expressed on a graph …   Contemporary slang

  • push the envelope — informal to go to the limits of what you are allowed to do Chinese companies have always pushed the envelope with regard to exports to the US market …   English dictionary

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