boil·​er·​plate | \ ˈbȯi-lər-ˌplāt How to pronounce boilerplate (audio) \

Definition of boilerplate

1 : syndicated material supplied especially to weekly newspapers in matrix or plate form
2a : standardized text
b : formulaic or hackneyed language bureaucratic boilerplate
3 : tightly packed icy snow

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Boilerplate in Print

In the days before computers, small, local newspapers around the U.S. relied heavily on feature stories, editorials, and other printed material supplied by large publishing syndicates. The syndicates delivered that copy on metal plates with the type already in place so the local papers wouldn't have to set it. Printers apparently dubbed those syndicated plates boiler plates because of their resemblance to the plating used in making steam boilers. Soon boilerplate came to refer to the printed material on the plates as well as to the plates themselves. Because boilerplate stories were more often filler than hard news, the word acquired negative connotations and gained another sense widely used today: "hackneyed or unoriginal writing."

Examples of boilerplate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Those ambitions, plus a talented cast, elevate the show above boilerplate crime-drama status. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch this weekend: Lots of sex, drugs, and teen drama in HBO's Euphoria," 14 June 2019 The New York Times Book Review’s By the Book column is a weekly feature in which a prominent author answers a set of boilerplate questions about her reading habits. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's magazine, "Like This or Die," 10 Apr. 2019 This kind of wording appears to have been included as boilerplate on the packaging for all online PS3 games through mid-2010. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Sony keeping Warhawk, other PS3 game servers live through January [Updated]," 2 Nov. 2018 Novartis’s proposals were pretty boilerplate: reducing regulations, speeding up generic drug approvals, forcing changes to insurance benefits for drugs. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Michael Cohen’s mysterious communiques with a big pharma company, explained," 13 July 2018 Here are some hints that we…yes…recommend: Ask someone who knows you well: A few words from someone who is familiar with more than just your grades or awards beats a boilerplate note from a person in power any day. Daniel Lerner And Alan Schlechter, Town & Country, "How To Get a Great College Recommendation Letter," 21 July 2017 The claims are largely a reiteration of previous denials Apple and Amazon have already made, many of them boilerplate statements regarding security and transparency. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Apple Denies Chinese Microchip Hack in a Fiery Letter to Congress," 8 Oct. 2018 This makes nice academic boilerplate, but the real world, filled with real people, is a little more complex than that. WSJ, "Many Countries Require Workers on Boards," 18 Sep. 2018 The problem is that his and screenwriter Greg Tucker's love of horse operas both boilerplate and ruminative a la Peckinpah doesn't mesh well enough into a smooth ride. Robert Abele,, "Lance Henriksen and Tom Berenger fit comfortably into throwback western 'Gone Are the Days,' flaws and all," 22 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'boilerplate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of boilerplate

1893, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for boilerplate

Last Updated

22 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for boilerplate

The first known use of boilerplate was in 1893

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English Language Learners Definition of boilerplate

US : phrases or sentences that are a standard way of saying something and are often used


boil·​er·​plate | \ ˈbȯi-lər-ˌplāt How to pronounce boilerplate (audio) \

Legal Definition of boilerplate

: standardized text in documents (as contracts)

More from Merriam-Webster on boilerplate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with boilerplate

Britannica English: Translation of boilerplate for Arabic Speakers

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