potboiler

noun
pot·​boil·​er | \ ˈpät-ˌbȯi-lər How to pronounce potboiler (audio) \

Definition of potboiler

: a usually inferior work (as of art or literature) produced chiefly for profit

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Potboiler draws its meaning from what was once the heartbeat of the home, the hearth and its boiling pot. In the days before modern conveniences, it was essential to maintain a fire within a home's hearth for warmth and domestic activities. In order "to make the pot boil" or "to keep the pot boiling" for cooking, one needed fuel, and to acquire fuel one typically needed an income. When artistic and literary works, especially inferior ones, became the means of keeping the pot boiling in some homes during the 19th century, it didn't take long for the literati to criticize such works as insignificant potboilers.

Examples of potboiler in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This ancient political thriller has all the ingredients of a modern-day potboiler. Anand Neelakanthan, Quartz India, "Who exactly was Chanakya, the ancient genius that wily Indian politicians are being compared with?," 20 Dec. 2019 However, a decent Bollywood potboiler needs a dash of the Mumbai underworld. Andy Mukherjee | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "This $12 Billion Rescue Is a Bollywood Fantasy," 25 Oct. 2019 What happened to her career has become the great potboiler mystery of tennis. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "2019 U.S. Open Seed Reports," 22 Aug. 2019 What happened to her career has become the great potboiler mystery of tennis. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "2019 U.S. Open Seed Reports," 22 Aug. 2019 What happened to her career has become the great potboiler mystery of tennis. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "2019 U.S. Open Seed Reports," 22 Aug. 2019 What happened to her career has become the great potboiler mystery of tennis. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "2019 U.S. Open Seed Reports," 22 Aug. 2019 The men were involved in an industry that produced racy potboilers about the mainland’s Communist Party leadership. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "Going From Hong Kong to Mainland China? Your Phone Is Subject to Search," 15 Aug. 2019 What happened to her career has become the great potboiler mystery of tennis. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "2019 U.S. Open Seed Reports," 22 Aug. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of potboiler

1783, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about potboiler

Time Traveler for potboiler

Time Traveler

The first known use of potboiler was in 1783

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about potboiler

Statistics for potboiler

Last Updated

29 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Potboiler.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potboiler. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for potboiler

potboiler

noun
How to pronounce potboiler (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of potboiler

: a book, movie, etc., that is made in usually a cheap way in order to make money rather than for artistic reasons

More from Merriam-Webster on potboiler

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with potboiler

Comments on potboiler

What made you want to look up potboiler? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!