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envelope definitions

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a flat (usually rectangular) container for a letter, thin package, etc.
2: any wrapper or covering
3: a curve that is tangent to each of a family of curves
4: a natural covering (as by a fluid); "the spacecraft detected an envelope of gas around the comet"
5: the maximum operating capability of a system (especially an aircraft); "test pilots try to push the envelope"
6: the bag containing the gas in a balloon [syn: envelope, gasbag]

Merriam Webster's

noun Date: circa 1714 1. a flat usually paper container (as for a letter) 2. something that envelops ; wrapper <the envelope of air around the earth> 3. a. the outer covering of an aerostat b. the bag containing the gas in a balloon or airship 4. a. a natural enclosing covering (as a membrane, shell, or integument) b. a lipoprotein unit membrane that forms the outer layer of some virions 5. a. 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> Usage: The ?en- and ?än- pronunciations are used with about equal frequency, and both are fully acceptable, though the ?än- version is sometimes decried as “pseudo-French.” Actually ?än- 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.

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. 1 a folded paper container, usu. with a sealable flap, for a letter etc. 2 a wrapper or covering. 3 the structure within a balloon or airship containing the gas. 4 the outer metal or glass housing of a vacuum tube, electric light, etc. 5 Electr. a curve joining the successive peaks of a modulated wave. 6 Bot. any enveloping structure esp. the calyx or corolla (or both). 7 Math. a line or curve tangent to each line or curve of a given family. Etymology: F enveloppe (as ENVELOP)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

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. 2. (Astron.) The nebulous covering of the head or nucleus of a comet; -- called also coma. 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. 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.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(envelopes) 1. An envelope is the rectangular paper cover in which you send a letter to someone through the post. N-COUNT 2. If someone pushes the envelope, they do something to a greater degree or in a more extreme way than it has ever been done before. There's a valuable place for fashion and design that pushes the envelope a bit... PHRASE: V inflects

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

n. [Fr.] 1. Wrapper, covering, case, capsule. 2. (Fort.) Mount (to cover a weak part). 3. (Astron.) Coma.

Moby Thesaurus

aura, bandage, bandaging, binder, binding, blaze of glory, border, brilliance, brilliancy, charisma, circumference, cortex, covering, crust, dust jacket, envelopment, epidermis, exterior, external, facade, face, facet, fringe, front, gift wrapping, glamour, glory, halo, illustriousness, integument, jacket, lineaments, luster, magic, mystique, nimbus, numinousness, outer face, outer layer, outer side, outer skin, outline, outside, periphery, radiance, resplendence, resplendency, rind, shell, skin, splendor, superficies, superstratum, surface, top, wrap, wrapper, wrapping


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