en ‧ ve ‧ lope S3 /ˈenvələʊp $ -loʊp/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1700-1800 ; Language: French ; Origin: enveloppe , from Old French envoloper ; ⇨ ↑ envelop ]
1 . a thin paper cover in which you put and send a letter:
envelopes and stamps
She tore open the envelope and frantically read the letter.
He got a job stuffing envelopes (=filling them with letters) at the campaign headquarters.
⇨ ↑ sae , ↑ SASE
2 . a layer of something that surrounds something else
an envelope of gases around the planet
3 . push the envelope especially American English to try to go beyond the normal limits of something:
a musician who pushes the envelope of improvisation
• • •
▪ open an envelope
I opened the envelope, pulled out the document and read it.
▪ tear/rip open an envelope (=open it quickly and roughly)
My fingers trembled as I tore open the envelope.
▪ slit open an envelope (=open it by cutting it)
I quickly slit open the envelope.
▪ seal an envelope (=close it)
She sealed the envelope and stuck on a stamp.
▪ stuff envelopes (=to put letters or documents into many envelopes, for example as part of a political compaign)
We need volunteers to stuff envelopes and deliver leaflets.
▪ a pre-paid/stamped-addressed envelope (=with a stamp/a stamp and an address already on it)
A copy of the rules can be obtained by sending a stamped-addressed envelope to the above address.
▪ a self-addressed envelope (=one with your own name and address on)
Enclose a self-addressed envelope with your application form.
▪ a brown/white etc envelope
There was a large brown envelope on his desk.
▪ a manila envelope (=made from strong brown paper)
▪ a sealed envelope (=one that is firmly closed)
The contract was delivered by special messenger in a sealed envelope.
▪ on the back of an envelope (=used to describe a calculation or plan that is written down quickly on any available small piece of paper)
She scribbled a few ideas on the back of an envelope.