[verb en-vel-uhp; noun en-vel-uhp, en-vuh-luhp, ahn-]

verb (used with object), en·vel·oped, en·vel·op·ing.

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 formsen·vel·op·er, nounpre·en·vel·op, verb (used with object)un·en·vel·oped, adjective
Can be confusedenvelop envelope

Synonyms for envelop

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for envelop

Contemporary Examples of envelop

Historical Examples of envelop

  • She was silent a moment, pondering, hesitation and confusion seeming to envelop her.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The dark brown folds seemed to envelop the face of the earth.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks

  • As a capper he digs up that envelop, to show her there needn't be any hitch in the program.

    Shorty McCabe

    Sewell Ford

  • A grunt was the only reply, and they prepared to envelop her again.

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • These obstacles had been originally intended to envelop the garrison.

British Dictionary definitions for envelop


verb -lops, -loping or -loped (tr)

to wrap or enclose in or as if in a covering
to conceal or obscure, as from sight or understandinga plan enveloped in mystery
to surround or partially surround (an enemy force)
Derived Formsenvelopment, noun

Word Origin for envelop

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

Word Origin and History for envelop

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