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boiler +‎ plate This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.


boilerplate (countable and uncountable, plural boilerplates)

  1. A sheet of copper or steel used in the construction of a boiler.
  2. (UK) The rating plate or nameplate required to be affixed to a boiler by the Boiler Explosions Act (1882).
  3. A plate attached to industrial machinery, identifying information such as manufacturer, model number, serial number, and power requirements.
  4. (journalism) Syndicated material.
    • 1966, Editor & Publisher (volume 99, page 46)
      [] they have neither the responsibility nor the inclination to cover the real news of the community and consequently have little editorial expense, relying on handouts and cheap boilerplate materials to fill up the spots where they have no ads.
  5. (computing) Standard text or program code used routinely and added with a text editor or word processor; text of a legal or official nature added to documents or labels.
    Synonym: boilerplate code
    They put that boilerplate on all the warning labels.
  6. Formulaic or hackneyed language.
  7. (skiing) Hard, icy snow which may be dangerous to ski on.



boilerplate (not comparable)

  1. Describing text or other material of a standard or routine nature.
    The contract contained all the usual boilerplate clauses.
    • 2018 August 2, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, “Disney goes back to the Hundred Acre Wood in the wistful Christopher Robin”, in AV Club[1]:
      It’s an oldie, but not a goodie: one of those boilerplate kids’ movie plots about a workaholic adult who needs a serious jolt to their inner child, complete with a buck-passing, golf-playing idiot boss (Mark Gatiss) and a big presentation that’s due tomorrow.
  2. (aeronautics) Used to refer to a non-functional spacecraft used to test configuration and procedures.
    A boilerplate spacecraft was used to test the rocket.


boilerplate (third-person singular simple present boilerplates, present participle boilerplating, simple past and past participle boilerplated)

  1. (transitive) To store (standard text) so that it can easily be retrieved for reuse.
    • 1986, Personal Computing (volume 10, page 72)
      Any text that you have reason to use more than once can be boilerplated by simply tucking it away in a file (on disk) []
    • 1989, Ron Tepper, How to Write Winning Proposals for Your Company Or Client, page 236:
      Boilerplated sections should be examined for updating each time they are used.

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