a closed vessel or arrangement of vessels and tubes, together with a furnace or other heat source, in which steam or other vapor is generated from water to drive turbines or engines, supply heat, process certain materials, etc. Compare fire-tube boiler, water-tube boiler.
a vessel, as a kettle, for boiling or heating.
British. a large tub in which laundry is boiled or sterilized.
a tank in which water is heated and stored, as for supplying hot water.

1530–40; boil1 + -er1

boilerless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
boiler (ˈbɔɪlə)
1.  a closed vessel or arrangement of enclosed tubes in which water is heated to supply steam to drive an engine or turbine or provide heat
2.  a domestic device burning solid fuel, gas, or oil, to provide hot water, esp for central heating
3.  a large tub for boiling laundry
4.  a tough old chicken for cooking by boiling

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1540, from boil (v.). Meaning "vessel for boiling" is from 1725; steam engine sense is from 1757. Boilermaker "shot of whiskey with a glass of beer" is short for boilermaker's delight (1910), strong cheap whiskey, so called in jest from the notion that it would clean the
scales from the interior of a boiler.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for boilers
Construction of boilers is mainly in steel, stainless steel, and wrought iron.
Electric steam boilers use resistance or immersion type heating elements.
Hydronic boilers are used in generating heat for residential and industrial purposes.
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