envelop and envelope - the difference

The Quick Answer
To envelop means to surround or to enclose.

An envelope is a flat paper container with a sealable flap, used to enclose a document.
The verb envelop (without an e on the end) means to surround or to enclose. It is sometimes confused with the noun envelope, which most commonly refers to a flat rectangular paper container for a letter.


The verb envelop can mean to surround, to enclose, to cover up, to conceal or — in military circles — to conduct a flanking manoeuvre. The verb used to be spelt with an e on the end, and this likely contributes to people confusing it with envelope. In the past tense, the e reappears (e.g., The German division enveloped the town.)


"the bridge was enveloped by fog"

  • Every year, an eerie mist envelops the hotel on the anniversary of his gruesome murder.


An envelope denotes a flat package (usually made of paper) that is designed to hold papers (e.g., letters, cards).  Envelope is also used to describe the limits of a system's operating capability (e.g., An altitude of 10,000 feet is the top of the aircraft's envelope.)


a selection of envelopes
  • In June's test flights, the speed and altitude envelope was progressively expanded from the previously flown 170 knots and 12,000 feet.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words