Pushing The Envelope

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Pushing The Envelope : Phrases


To approach or exceed known performance boundaries.


Your performance at work is not exactly
pushing the envelope.


This expression comes out of the U.S. Air Force test pilot program of the late 1940's.

The envelope refers to a plane's performance capabilities. The limits of the planes ability to fly at speeds and altitudes and under certain stresses define what is known as its performance envelope. It's an
envelope in the sense that it contains the ranges of the plane's abilities.

Pushing the envelope originally meant flying an aircraft at, or even beyond, its known or recommended limits.

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