a mediocre work of literature or art produced merely for financial gain.

1860–65; pot1 + boiler

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To potboiler
World English Dictionary
potboiler (ˈpɒtˌbɔɪlə)
informal a literary or artistic work of little merit produced quickly in order to make money

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

1864, in the literary sense, from pot (1) + boil. The notion is of something one writes solely to put food on the table.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The annals of art heists brim with tales ready-made for a potboiler novel.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature