or boil·er plate

[ boi-ler-pleyt ]
/ ˈbɔɪ lərˌpleɪt /
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See synonyms for: boilerplate / boilerplates on Thesaurus.com

plating of iron or steel for making the shells of boilers, covering the hulls of ships, etc.
  1. syndicated or ready-to-print copy, used especially by weekly newspapers.
  2. trite, hackneyed writing.
the detailed standard wording of a contract, warranty, etc.
Informal. phrases or units of text used repeatedly, as in correspondence produced by a word-processing system.
frozen, crusty, hard-packed snow, often with icy patches.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of boilerplate

First recorded in 1855–60
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


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.

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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.



Try using boilerplate!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe a boilerplate?

A. standard
B. typical
C. unique
D. usual

How to use boilerplate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for boilerplate

/ (ˈbɔɪləˌpleɪt) /

a form of mild-steel plate used in the production of boiler shells
a copy made with the intention of making other copies from it
a set of instructions incorporated in several places in a computer program or a standard form of words used repeatedly in drafting contracts, guarantees, etc
a draft contract that can easily be modified to cover various types of transaction
to incorporate standard material automatically in a text
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012