What Does "Back-of-the-envelope" Mean?

"Back-of-the-envelope" is an English idiom. It means "a rough calculation or initial estimate, often done quickly without detailed analysis."

Examples in Sentences

Here are three examples of the idiom "back-of-the-envelope" used in a sentence:

What Is an Idiom?

An idiom is a commonly used expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. In other words, if you were to translate "Back-of-the-envelope" word for word, there is no guarantee the translation would help you to understand the meaning.

An idiom often includes a cultural or historical context that makes it difficult for non-native English speakers to understand. A phrase is classified as an idiom when a direct translation of the words does not reveal the meaning. Most idioms rely on shared knowledge or experiences known only to a specific community.

A Quick Test

You now know what "back-of-the-envelope" means, but are you good at English idioms? Let's see!
gold cup

gold cup

gold cup

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See Also

meaning of the idiom "back of one's hand" meaning of the idiom "back-patty"