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:

  • Envelop — En*vel op, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Enveloped}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Enveloping}.] [OE. envolupen, envolipen, OF. envoluper, envoleper, F. envelopper; pref. en (L. in) + voluper, voleper. See {Develop}.] To put a covering about; to wrap up or in; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • envelop — (v.) late 14c., envolupen, be involved in, from O.Fr. envoleper (10c., Mod.Fr. envelopper) envelop, cover; fold up, from en in (see EN (Cf. en ) (1)) + voloper wrap up, of uncertain origin, perhaps Celtic (see Gamillscheg, Diez). Literal sense is …   Etymology dictionary

  • envelop — envelop, envelope Envelop (with stress on the second syllable) is the form for the verb, meaning ‘to wrap up, surround, etc.’, and it inflects envelops, enveloped, enveloping. Envelope (with stress on the first syllable, now normally pronounced… …   Modern English usage

  • envelop — I verb beleaguer, beseige, beset, blanket, box, cage, circumfundere, circumscribe, cloak, cloister, close in, compass, conceal, confine, corral, cover, curtain, edge, embox, embrace, encapsulate, encase, encircle, enclose, encompass, enfold,… …   Law dictionary

  • envelop — vb 1 *cover, overspread, wrap, shroud, veil Analogous words: *surround, environ, encompass: cloak, mask (see DISGUISE) 2 *enclose, fence, pen, coop, corral, cage, wall Analogous words: confine, circumscribe (see LIMIT): protect, shield, guard… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • envelop — [v] encase, hide blanket, cage, cloak, conceal, contain, coop, corral, cover, drape, embrace, encircle, enclose, encompass, enfold, engulf, enshroud, enwrap, fence, gird, girdle, guard, hem, immure, invest, obscure, overlay, overspread, pen,… …   New thesaurus

  • envelop — ► VERB (enveloped, enveloping) ▪ wrap up, cover, or surround completely. DERIVATIVES envelopment noun. ORIGIN Old French envoluper, related to DEVELOP(Cf. ↑developer) …   English terms dictionary

  • envelop — [en vel′əp, invel′əp] vt. [ME envolupen < OFr envoluper: see EN 1 & DEVELOP] 1. to wrap up; cover completely 2. to surround 3. to conceal; hide envelopment n …   English World dictionary

  • envelop — enveloper, n. v. /en vel euhp/; n. /en vel euhp, en veuh leuhp, ahn /, v., enveloped, enveloping. n. v.t. 1. to wrap up in or as in a covering: The long cloak she was wearing enveloped her completely. 2. to serve as a wrapping or covering for, as …   Universalium

  • envelop — v. (D; intr.) to envelop in * * * [ɪn veləp] (D; intr.) to envelop in …   Combinatory dictionary

  • envelop — UK [ɪnˈveləp] / US / US [enˈveləp] verb [transitive] Word forms envelop : present tense I/you/we/they envelop he/she/it envelops present participle enveloping past tense enveloped past participle enveloped to surround someone or something… …   English dictionary

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