How do you pronounce 'envelope'?

It can be subtle, but I did hear the Canadian “about” (or it might have been “out”) in real life while riding the ferry from Sidney to Tsawassen. It was uttered in casual conversation by a man of Asian ethnicity, but he had an otherwise normal PNW-sounding accent.

ON-velope sounds pretentious to me. It’s how I imagine hah-sassiety wimmen would say it.

But since you put a letter in it, I say the word should be IN-velope.

My local library (in the days before covid when it was open) posted a children’s riddle every week. One of them was:
“What word begins with e and ends with e and has a letter in it?”

I was raised to pronounce it EN-velope, but as an adult I pronounce it ON-velope. I have no idea when or why I changed it.

It’s never sounded like “aboot” to me. It sounds more like “aboat.”

Oh, and I pronounce envelope both ways.


When I was a small child, ON-velope, as that’s how the adults in my life pronounced it.

When I got more literate and saw how it was spelled, I began pronouncing it as EN-velope. It remains so today.

I’m flexible, it depends on the way the people around me like to pronounce it. If they insist their way of pronouncing it is the only correct one, I pronounce it the other way.

I pronounce it “En. . .”. And so does everybody else I know, or have known in the past-- EXCEPT my paternal grandfather, who grew up in Minnesota in the '30’s and '40’s. He pronounced it “On. . .”

Another interesting data point–
I, and (as far I as know) everybody that I know, says “waste basket.” My grandpa said “wastepaper basket.”

He believed the difference to be a result of the Scandinavian influence in that region. His grandparents immigrated from Finland.

In Wisconsin, The Bubbler State, it was alsu wastepaper basket, even the one under the kitchen sink.

“Out and about”" is always a tipoff in NHL commentators, and also phone service reps at the call-centre in Kamloops.

I worked in radio in 12 states and provinces, so I got pretty good at shifting on the fly.


In Rhode Island, The Bubbla State, I think most people say trash can, trash basket, or waste basket.

With an, ah: An ahnvelope.
With a consonant, en: That envelope

I have said both at different times of my life, and now I say it differently on different days, so it’s just one of those things that never really sorted itself out. I guess I can blame a cosmopolitan pop culture upbringing.

It rhymes with “Penelope”, of course.

@bobot and others who raised the same issue: lots of identical or closely related words change pronunciation and stressed syllable following the same pattern when the meaning shifts from noun to verb – sometimes including a shift in the first syllable’s vowel sound as it goes from stresses to unstressed. So, of course envelop is pronounced differently. It doesn’t really say anything about how envelope “should” be pronounced.

Will the competitor contest the results of the contest? One attribute he has that he can attribute to his upbringing . . .

Here are some more. They’re quite common in English.

For my own pronunciation, I use both en- and ahn-. I’m not sure if it follows some unconscious rule. My accent is a bit of a mishmash.

EN-vuh-lope and in-VELL-lupp. Except when quoting. For example, I say “And the onvelope, please.” And, yes, it feels like I’m speaking like I’m from an older generation when I say it that way.

BTW, are there any other words from French that used a modified French pronunciation of en?

I’ve learned most of the English words from the dictionary. If there are two or more pronunciations given for one word, I usually go for either the first one, or the American one. I learned British English in school, but when I graduated I opted for the American version because pronunciation is easier in general.

Anyway. The dictionary says the pronunciation for “envelope” is ˈɛnvələʊp orˈɒnvələʊp/. So, I go for the first.

Encore, entree, ensemble…

Thank you. Had a brain fart then–could only think of words like entreat, encase, etc.

I do say all of those as if they were spelled with on. So I wonder why envelope is the exception for me and so many.

EN here in Minnesota

I think I say both. Definitely started out saying ONvelope but I’m pretty sure I’ve said it the other way too. The first way comes more naturally to me.

Raised in CA by transplanted Chicagoans.