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[verb en-vel-uh p; noun en-vel-uh p, en-vuh-luh p, ahn-] /verb ɛnˈvɛl əp; noun ɛnˈvɛl əp, ˈɛn və ləp, ˈɑn-/
verb (used with object), enveloped, enveloping.
to wrap up in or as in a covering:
The long cloak she was wearing enveloped her completely.
to serve as a wrapping or covering for, as a membrane of an organ or a sheath.
to surround entirely.
Military. to attack (an enemy's flank).
Origin of envelop
1350-1400; Middle English envolupen < Old French envoluper, equivalent to en- en-1 + voloper to envelop, of obscure origin; compare Old Provençal (en)volopar, Italian inviluppare to envelop, Italian viluppo tuft, bundle, confusion, referred to Medieval Latin faluppa chaff, wisp of straw, perhaps influenced by the descendants of Latin volvere to roll
Related forms
enveloper, noun
preenvelop, verb (used with object)
unenveloped, adjective
Can be confused
envelop, envelope.
1. enfold, cover, hide, conceal. 3. encompass, enclose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for enveloping
Historical Examples
  • He crossed over, emerging out of the shadows into her enveloping radiance.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He thought kindly of the enveloping mob that had kept him hidden from Allis, as he thought.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • The darkness was like a cloud down there, enveloping the outer brigands.

  • Immediately afterwards, however, the obscurity was enveloping.

    Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Then the breeze dropped, and the fog fell thick and enveloping.

    Simon Dale

    Anthony Hope
  • But always there was this enveloping cloak of ignorance baffling him at every turn.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate Freeman Wills Crofts
  • A great weight, soft and enveloping, seemed to drop upon me.

    The Infra-Medians

    Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • Masaccio, also, was the first to place his figures in air, enveloping them in atmosphere.

    The Gate of Appreciation Carleton Noyes
  • Her enveloping white apron was splashed and soaked with blood.

    A Sheaf of Corn Mary E. Mann
  • Vittoria raised her arms as if she felt the thing to be enveloping her.

    Vittoria, Complete George Meredith
British Dictionary definitions for enveloping


verb (transitive) -lops, -loping, -loped
to wrap or enclose in or as if in a covering
to conceal or obscure, as from sight or understanding: a plan enveloped in mystery
to surround or partially surround (an enemy force)
Derived Forms
envelopment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French envoluper, from en-1 + voluper, voloper, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enveloping



late 14c., envolupen, "be involved in," from Old French envoleper (10c., Modern French envelopper) "envelop, cover; fold up," from en- "in" (see en- (1)) + voloper "wrap up," of uncertain origin, perhaps Celtic (see Gamillscheg, Diez). Literal sense is from 1580s. Related: Enveloped; enveloping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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