Definition of push the envelope (or the edge of the envelope) in US English:

push the envelope (or the edge of the envelope)


  • Approach or extend the limits of what is possible.

    ‘these are extremely witty and clever stories that consistently push the envelope of TV comedy’
    • ‘We're trying to push the envelope as much as possible.’
    • ‘But the trend is to go to the extreme, push the envelope and be as outrageous as possible.’
    • ‘He's a coach - like every other coach - who pushes the envelope as far as possible to create a winning advantage.’
    • ‘On more than one occasion, she says, publishers have approached her to push the envelope - to write a novel of her own.’
    • ‘To say that he bends the rules, pushes the envelope and extends the possibilities of fiction is to state only part of the case.’
    • ‘I don't push the envelope just for the sake of pushing the envelope.’
    • ‘The Film Board has always been here to push the envelope, to push the film language, and this is where we excel, what we are good at.’
    • ‘The evening news was a little strange but I could tell the newsroom was starting to get a feel for the limits now and were pushing the envelope as far as they could.’
    • ‘He pushed the envelope of possibility with his art, but pushes the boundaries of acceptable conduct as well.’
    • ‘You have to be able to push the edge of the envelope, but you have to be able to do it in a way that you can see what the community of users' reaction is.’