[verb en-vel-uhp; noun en-vel-uhp, en-vuh-luhp, ahn-]
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verb (used with object), en·vel·oped, en·vel·op·ing.
  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 a membrane of an organ or a sheath.
  3. to surround entirely.
  4. 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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for enveloping

Historical Examples of enveloping

  • He crossed over, emerging out of the shadows into her enveloping radiance.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

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


    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

British Dictionary definitions for enveloping


verb -lops, -loping or -loped (tr)
  1. to wrap or enclose in or as if in a covering
  2. to conceal or obscure, as from sight or understandinga plan enveloped in mystery
  3. 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 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