or boil·er plate

[ boi-ler-pleyt ]
/ ˈbɔɪ lərˌpleɪt /


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.

Origin of boilerplate

First recorded in 1855–60 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boilerplate

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

Word Origin and History for boilerplate



newspaper (and now information technology) slang for "unit of writing that can be used over and over without change," 1893, from a literal meaning (1840) "metal rolled in large, flat plates for use in making steam boilers." The connecting notion is probably of sturdiness or reusability. From 1890s to 1950s, publicity items were cast or stamped in metal ready for the printing press and distributed to newspapers as filler. The largest supplier was Western Newspaper Union.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper