How are you using and pronouncing these words? Do you think they mean the same thing, or that one is British and the other American? Hold your answers just yet, as this article seeks to envelop you in the right answers. First with the….


Envelop is a verb meaning cover, enclose, or wrap up (something).

Envelope is a noun meaning wrapper, covering, or paper container (usually used for mailing a letter).


  • Very soon, the fog will envelop the house.
  • A long sand-coloured envelope from Ibadan, containing my admission letter to the university.
  • Just as it rained buckets, and the temperature steadily dipped, she shivered slightly in the envelope of her own warmth.

Envelop is an Old French word that was first used in the late 14th century, and a little more than 300 years later, the noun envelope came into English from modern French.

There’s been some debate about how to pronounce this word. Some people in the 18th century pronounced it in a way that they thought recalled its French origin, as in encore, with a lot of people continuing to pronounce it this way. Though, the word has been fully Anglicized,  both pronunciations are common.

Idiomatic Usage

The expression push the envelope means to closely approach or attempt to exceed the limit of something.

Niniola keeps pushing the envelope in STEM subjects; leading her class in all subjects traditionally looked upon as male-dominated.