Definition of boilerplate
- bureaucratic boilerplate
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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.
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."
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