to push the envelope

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Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to bribe

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b) to stretch boundaries

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to push the envelope’ means to attempt to extend the current limits of performance, to innovate, or go beyond the limit of what has usually been done or is the accepted standard.

French translation

aller plus loin, repousser les limites

How NOT to translate : *pousser l’enveloppe

Examples in context

‘You want collaboration ? We’ll show you collaboration

How five great corporate teams in the Fortune 500 push the envelope.

Many companies talk a big game about collaboration. We’ve found five employee groups within America’s largest corporations that have mastered the art.’, 5 June 2015


‘Can fast-growing Alter Eco push the envelope on sustainability ?
Alter Eco is growing quickly and doing almost everything right, but the small company’s ambitions are to drive major change

What would a truly sustainable food company look like ? That’s hard to say, but a small company called Alter Eco, which sells quinoa, rice, chocolate and sugar grown in Latin America, Asia and Africa, offers a clue or two.

Striving to hit the very highest environmental and social standards, Alter Eco sources only Fair Trade commodities, buying from small-farm co-operatives. Its products are certified organic. It offsets its carbon emissions. And, when the founders could not find packaging that satisfied them, they designed their own : a bio-based, backyard-compostable package with no petroleum or chemicals or genetically modified corn.

"We are trying to push the envelope towards full sustainability," CEO Mathieu Senard says.’

The Guardian, 4 Feb. 2014


Everyday usage

The engineers wanted to completely redesign the product, but couldn’t push the envelope because of a very restricted budget.

They are being extremely innovative and pushing the envelope in using only new fabrics for winter clothing.

c) to exagerate

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