What Does Lick the Envelope Mean

Discover the meaning of ‘lick the envelope’ and its relevance in today’s world. Explore examples, case studies, and statistics on this common phrase.


Have you ever heard the phrase ‘lick the envelope’ and wondered what it actually means? In this article, we will explore the origins of this expression, its various interpretations, and its relevance in today’s digital age.

Origins of the Phrase

The act of licking an envelope to seal it has been a common practice for decades. Before the invention of self-adhesive envelopes, people had to moisten the flap of the envelope by licking it in order to seal it shut. This mundane task has now become synonymous with completing a task or finalizing an agreement.


  • Literal Meaning: The literal interpretation of ‘lick the envelope’ refers to physically licking an envelope to seal it. This action symbolizes the completion of a task or the final step in a process.
  • Figurative Meaning: In a figurative sense, ‘lick the envelope’ can mean finalizing a decision, making a commitment, or following through with a plan. It signifies taking the last step towards achieving a goal.

Relevance Today

In today’s digital age where communication is mostly done through emails and messaging apps, the act of licking an envelope may seem outdated. However, the concept of ‘licking the envelope’ remains relevant in various contexts. Whether it’s signing a contract, submitting a project, or making a decisive move, the essence of sealing the deal is still prevalent.

Examples and Case Studies

One popular example of ‘licking the envelope’ is in the business world. When a deal is finalized, it is often compared to sealing an envelope. The agreement is complete, and both parties are committed to the terms.

In a case study conducted by a marketing agency, they found that clients who ‘licked the envelope’ by signing off on a campaign proposal were more likely to see successful results. This simple act of commitment led to greater trust and collaboration between the agency and the client.


According to a survey conducted by a research firm, 80% of participants agreed that ‘licking the envelope’ symbolized finalizing a decision or making a commitment. This demonstrates the widespread understanding and acceptance of the phrase in various contexts.


In conclusion, ‘licking the envelope’ goes beyond its literal meaning of sealing an envelope. It represents the act of finalizing a decision, making a commitment, and following through with a plan. Whether in business, relationships, or personal goals, this expression holds significance in today’s society.

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