or boil·er plate
- syndicated or ready-to-print copy, used especially by weekly newspapers.
- trite, hackneyed writing.
QUIZ YOURSELF ON THE 12 TYPES OF VERB TENSES!
Origin of boilerplate
Words nearby boilerplate
What does boilerplate mean?
A boilerplate is text that will be used repeatedly, often word for word, and relied on as standard wording.
Boilerplate is commonly used to describe the repeated wording a company or an organization will use in all of its contracts, press releases, or similar documents, as in The buyer foolishly ignored the boilerplate at the end of the legal agreement.
It can also be used as a modifier, as in boilerplate language.
While boilerplates will be different depending on who’s using them, the idea behind them is to have an easy-to-use standard or pattern (template) that can be easily copied for reuse over and over. Often, someone will make small changes to the boilerplate or fill in blanks left for this purpose rather than use the exact boilerplate.
Because boilerplates are designed to be easily reused, the term boilerplate is sometimes mockingly used to label an answer or explanation as a canned response that a person didn’t even think about.
Boilerplate was originally used (and still is) to refer to a mass-produced iron or steel plating used for the shells of boilers or other machinery.
Boilerplate can also be spelled boiler plate.
Example: All of the company’s press releases ended with a boilerplate containing the company motto and a detailed outline of its products and services.
Where does boilerplate come from?
The first records of the word boilerplate come from the 1850s. It is a combination of boiler, “a vessel for boiling and heating,” and plate, “a flat or curved sheet of metal.” It was originally used to refer to the plates made for boilers. The use of boilerplate to refer to reusable text is likely based on the fact that the first boilerplate text was stamped into the metal to be used in the printing press.
The first boilerplates used in documents were publicity items published in newspapers around the United States. Now they are used in all kinds of documents for all kinds of industries, most notably journalism and computer programming. Even an email or text message can be based on a boilerplate. If you have ever read a company’s terms of service agreement (and you might be the only one, other than the lawyers), then you have seen an example of a boilerplate.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to boilerplate?
- boiler plate (alternate spelling)
What are some synonyms for boilerplate?
What are some words that share a root or word element with boilerplate?
What are some words that often get used in discussing boilerplate?
How is boilerplate used in real life?
Boilerplates are used in many different industries.
Academic Murphy's Law: the requir d syllabus boilerplate will be sent directly after your syllabi are formatted and uploaded.
— Dr. Michelle McMullin (@chellemcmullin) August 4, 2020
Give a journalist a break (and provide the perfect boilerplate press release). Find out how: https://t.co/TeZULRg7IK
— Class:PR (@classprHQ) August 6, 2020
— Smashing Magazine (@smashingmag) July 20, 2012
Try using boilerplate!
Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe a boilerplate?
How to use boilerplate in a sentence
So use her boilerplate prompt to launch whatever topic you’d rather tell the truth about — or ask her for one.Carolyn Hax: How much truth about your daily struggle is too much for elderly mom?|Carolyn Hax|May 14, 2021|Washington Post
When asked for comment, Facebook sent us the boilerplate “We’re still investigating this issue and will take any learnings to improve our systems going forward.”Bans lifted, ad outages, feature releases, and more CWV; Tuesday’s daily brief|Carolyn Lyden|February 23, 2021|Search Engine Land
Even the recent BBC adaptation of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy was able to elevate a boilerplate script with bold direction from Mira Nair that infused each frame with the vivid colors and cultural contradictions of postcolonial India.The Long Song Is a Brilliant Tale of Slavery’s End in Jamaica, Frustratingly Told|Judy Berman|January 29, 2021|Time
I’ll spare you some of the boilerplate about the more obvious implications, but having a Senate majority is a big deal.Georgia Was A Disaster For Republicans, And It’s Not Clear Where They Can Go Next|Nate Silver (email@example.com)|January 11, 2021|FiveThirtyEight
The boosting of local Democratic candidates was boilerplate.Bill Clinton's McConnell Attack May Be What We'll Remember From the Steak Fry|Ben Jacobs|September 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Yet today apparently that qualifies as right-wing boilerplate that would qualify Hurston as a race traitor.Standardized Tests Aren’t Racist: How Brown Kids Can Ace the Test to Get Into New York’s Stuyvesant|John McWhorter|June 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Those ideas are hardly original; indeed, they are Republican boilerplate.
The argument is boilerplate Al Qaeda, but many people in developing countries, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, find it persuasive.Death Squads in Kenya’s Shadow War on Shabaab Sympathizers|Margot Kiser|April 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
In that same press conference, for instance, he repeated conservative boilerplate on repealing the Affordable Care Act.The Deal Has Passed, But Don’t Hold Your Breath for Bipartisanship|Jamelle Bouie|December 13, 2013|DAILY BEAST
I felt like a kind of human periwinkle encased in boilerplate and frozen with cold and funk.Carnacki, The Ghost Finder|William Hope Hodgson
I put in the legal notices, whatever news items I had handy or had time to set up, and stuck in boilerplate as a filler.Land of the Burnt Thigh|Edith Eudora Kohl
And this at, the end of it all, lined with boilerplate that even alcohol will not corrode and that only alcohol will tickle.The Red One|Jack London