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or boiler plate

[boi-ler-pleyt] /ˈbɔɪ lərˌpleɪt/
plating of iron or steel for making the shells of boilers, covering the hulls of ships, etc.
  1. syndicated or ready-to-print copy, used especially by weekly newspapers.
  2. trite, hackneyed writing.
the detailed standard wording of a contract, warranty, etc.
Informal. phrases or units of text used repeatedly, as in correspondence produced by a word-processing system.
frozen, crusty, hard-packed snow, often with icy patches.
Origin of boilerplate
1855-60 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for boilerplate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I felt like a kind of human periwinkle encased in boilerplate and frozen with cold and funk.

    Carnacki, The Ghost Finder William Hope Hodgson
  • And this at, the end of it all, lined with boilerplate that even alcohol will not corrode and that only alcohol will tickle.

    The Red One Jack London
  • I put in the legal notices, whatever news items I had handy or had time to set up, and stuck in boilerplate as a filler.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh Edith Eudora Kohl
British Dictionary definitions for boilerplate


a form of mild-steel plate used in the production of boiler shells
a copy made with the intention of making other copies from it
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
a draft contract that can easily be modified to cover various types of transaction
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 boilerplate

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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