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boilerplate

[boi-ler-pleyt] /ˈbɔɪ lərˌpleɪt/
noun
1.
plating of iron or steel for making the shells of boilers, covering the hulls of ships, etc.
2.
Journalism.
  1. syndicated or ready-to-print copy, used especially by weekly newspapers.
  2. trite, hackneyed writing.
3.
the detailed standard wording of a contract, warranty, etc.
4.
Informal. phrases or units of text used repeatedly, as in correspondence produced by a word-processing system.
5.
frozen, crusty, hard-packed snow, often with icy patches.
Also, boiler plate.
Origin
1855-1860
1855-60
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for boiler plate

boilerplate

/ˈbɔɪləˌpleɪt/
noun
1.
a form of mild-steel plate used in the production of boiler shells
2.
a copy made with the intention of making other copies from it
3.
a set of instructions incorporated in several places in a computer program or a standard form of words used repeatedly in drafting contracts, guarantees, etc
4.
a draft contract that can easily be modified to cover various types of transaction
verb
5.
to incorporate standard material automatically in a text
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boiler plate

boilerplate

n.

newspaper (and now information technology) slang for "unit of writing that can be used over and over without change," 1893, from a literal meaning (1840) "metal rolled in large, flat plates for use in making steam boilers." The connecting notion is probably of sturdiness or reusability. From 1890s to 1950s, publicity items were cast or stamped in metal ready for the printing press and distributed to newspapers as filler. The largest supplier was Western Newspaper Union.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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