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Push the envelope

Created date

June 9th, 2009

Pushing the envelope actually comes from a mathematical concept known as the flight envelope, which involves combinations of speed, altitude, stress, and range--all important factors in determining an aircraft s capabilities. When test pilots push the envelope, they are taking the aircraft up to and, perhaps even, beyond its limits. While the phrase has been familiar to aviators for some time now, it came into popular usage with the publication of Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff (1979). The term has come to represent most any instance in which someone or something is pushing the limits. "The iPhone is really pushing the envelope in terms of what cell phones can do."