a mediocre work of literature or art produced merely for financial gain.

Origin of potboiler

First recorded in 1860–65; pot1 + boiler
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for potboiler

Contemporary Examples of potboiler

Historical Examples of potboiler

  • Fanny's First Play, being but a potboiler, needs no preface.

    Fanny's First Play

    George Bernard Shaw

British Dictionary definitions for potboiler



informal a literary or artistic work of little merit produced quickly in order to make money
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 potboiler

also pot-boiler, 1864 in the figurative literary sense, from pot (n.1) + agent noun from boil (v.). The notion is of something one writes solely to put food on the table.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper