# envelope

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## back-of-the-envelope

Describing something, usually a calculation, that is approximated in a quick, informal, and rough manner, as might be sketched out on a scrap of paper (such as the back of an envelope). When it came time to pay the bill, we had to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations to figure out who owed how much. These are just some back-of-the-envelope figures, but it looks like we should have enough money to pay for the renovation.

## back-of-the-envelope calculation

A calculation or mathematical formulation that is approximated in a quick, informal, and rough manner, as might be sketched out on a scrap of paper (such as the back of an envelope). When it came time to pay the bill, we had to do some back-of-the-envelope calculations to figure out who owed how much.

## envelop (oneself, someone, or something) in (something)

To wrap oneself, someone, or something in something. As soon as I got in from the cold, I enveloped myself in a blanket and sat in front of the fire. The snowstorm enveloped our area even faster than predicted with white-out conditions.

## on the back of an envelope

Calculated, prepared, or drafted in an overly quick, informal, or rough manner, as might be scribbled on a scrap of paper (such as the back of an envelope). It seems clear that they devised this legislation on the back of an envelope. Now, don't come up with these figures on the back of an envelope—I want you to be thorough and double check each sum and calculation.

## push the envelope

To expand on, exceed, or test the limits of the established norm or standard. The company is renowned for pushing the envelope whenever they develop a new piece of technology. If you want to make a name for yourself in the art world, then you can't be afraid of pushing the envelope. It's a natural stage for most teenagers to push the envelope of their parents' rules.

## the opening of an envelope

Any event, celebration, or ceremony, no matter how trivial or unremarkable, that one attends purely for the sake of visibility. Often said in relation to celebrities or media personalities who make a point of attending anything that will give them more public exposure. In a bid to cultivate a media buzz around herself, the Internet sensation has been to the openings of films, book launches, and celebrity galas. With the way she carries on, she'd even go to the opening of an envelope!

## push the envelope

Fig. to expand the definition, categorization, dimensions, or perimeters of something. The engineers wanted to completely redesign the product, but couldn't push the envelope because of a very restricted budget.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

## 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]

## on the back of an envelope

If a piece of work was written or planned on the back of an envelope, it was prepared too quickly, with little thought or care. These proposals were sketched out on the back of an envelope. The screenplay sounds as if it's been written on the back of an envelope. Note: You can also talk about a back-of-an-envelope calculation or account to talk about something that is not accurate. According to his back-of-an-envelope calculation, a solar square of mirrors of this size would provide enough energy to supply the whole state.

## push the envelope

If you push the envelope, you do something to a greater degree or in a more extreme way than it has been done before. We have to keep pushing the envelope, trying new technologies and developing better methods. There's a valuable place for fashion and design that pushes the envelope a bit. Note: Rather than referring to stationery, the sense of envelope here is probably the one used to refer to the shape of a wave in electronics or a curve in mathematics. Pushing or stretching the envelope suggests changing the properties of the wave or curve.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

## push the envelope (or the edge of the envelope)

approach or extend the limits of what is possible. informal
This expression was originally aviation slang and related to graphs of aerodynamic performance on which the envelope is the boundary line representing an aircraft's capabilities.
1993 Albuquerque These are extremely witty and clever stories that consistently push the envelope of TV comedy.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

## push the ˈenvelope

do something in an extreme way in order to find out to what degree something is possible: Advertisements seem to be pushing the envelope of taste every day.People these days like to push the envelope with extreme sports. ▶ ˈenvelope-pushing noun, adj.: envelope-pushing technologyThis expression comes from the aeroplane industry. A plane’s envelope was the limit of its performance. Test pilots would need to push (the edge of) the envelope to see what the plane could and could not do.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

## push the envelope

To exceed or try to exceed the existing limits of a discipline or activity.

## push the envelope

Go to extremes, go beyond accepted limits. This term comes from flight testing in the 1960s, where envelope signifies the limits of safe performance, and pushing it means to fly an aircraft faster or higher or dive more steeply than had ever been attempted in order to see what it could do. By the 1980s the expression was used figuratively, and so widely that it has become a cliché. Opera singer Renée Fleming used it in The Inner Voice (2004): “You want to go out there, push the envelope, and do something you’ve never done before.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
References in classic literature ?
Giry took from her sleeve an envelope ready prepared and similarly addressed to that containing the twenty-thousand francs.
"So it was the ghost who gave you this envelope and told you to substitute it for the one which we gave you?
Here is the envelope. Act as though we knew nothing."
Giry took the envelope with the twenty notes inside it and made for the door.
"I beg your pardon, gentlemen," said the old woman, in self-excuse, "you told me to act as though you knew nothing....Well, if you knew nothing, I should go away with your envelope!"
I go behind you and slip the envelope into the tail-pocket of your dress-coat....There's no witchcraft about that!"
"Because I spent that evening watching Box Five and the sham envelope which you put there.
"No, sir, and I did not give you the envelope that evening, but at the next performance...on the evening when the under-secretary of state for fine arts..."
Richard and, so nimbly that Moncharmin himself was impressed by it, slipped the envelope into the pocket of one of the tails of M.
It proved to be that of a young gentleman whose name, as it appears from an envelope which was found in his pocket, was John Openshaw, and whose residence is near Horsham.
Of these he took five and thrust them into an envelope. On the inside of the flap he wrote "S.
That the direction about the drawer, the colour of ink, the colour of envelope, should none of them be right by accident, that can't be a coincidence.
Standard #10 business envelopes are the most likely to be opened.
While many banks use plain white envelopes, there are many alternatives.
We think this new postal voting scam is a splendid idea and we hope you have found it much easier than turning up at a polling station and simply marking a little box with an ``X'' in a private booth without the need for witnesses, signatures,bar codes,different envelopes and ripping forms to bits!
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