envelope

[ en-vuh-lohp, ahn- ]
/ ˈɛn vəˌloʊp, ˈɑn- /

noun

Idioms

    push the envelope, to stretch established limits, as in technological advance or social innovation.
Also envelop.

Origin of envelope

1700–10; < French enveloppe, derivative of envelopper to envelop

Can be confused

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

British Dictionary definitions for push the envelope

envelope

/ (ˈɛnvəˌləʊp, ˈɒn-) /

noun

Word Origin for envelope

C18: from French enveloppe, from envelopper to wrap around; see envelop; sense 8 from aeronautics jargon, referring to graphs of aircraft performance
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

Medicine definitions for push the envelope

envelope

[ ĕnvə-lōp′, ŏn- ]

n.

An enclosing structure or cover, such as a membrane or the outer coat of a virus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with push the envelope

push the envelope


Exceed the limits of what is normally done, be innovative, as in They are pushing the envelope in using only new fabrics for winter clothing. This idiom comes from aviation, the envelope alluding to the technical limits of a plane's performance, which, on a graph, appear as a rising slope as limits of speed and stress are approached and falls off when the capacity is exceeded and the pilot loses control; safety lies within these limits, or envelope, and exceeding them exposes pilot and plane to risk. [Slang; late 1960s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.