What It Means
1 : syndicated material supplied especially to weekly newspapers in matrix or plate form
2 a : standardized text
b : formulaic or hackneyed language
3 : tightly packed icy snow
boilerplate in Context
"'I think the middle class is getting clobbered,' he said one day, over lunch. 'I think there has to be a significant change in both, over time, fiscal policy and tax policy.' He was trying to get that view 'further insinuated into the White House,' he said. It seemed like boilerplate, and I didn't quote it." — Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 26 Apr. 2019
"… we ask each of our esteemed colleagues to negotiate hard to get anti-harassment language woven into all service agreements, to make it part of the basic boilerplate and/or the standard asks in any negotiation." — Monika Tashman, Esq., et al., Billboard.com, 12 Nov. 2018
Did You Know?
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, such as "hackneyed or unoriginal writing."
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