boilerplate or boiler plate [boi-ler-pleyt]
1. plating of iron or steel for making the shells of boilers, covering the hulls of ships, etc.
a. syndicated or ready-to-print copy, used especially by weekly newspapers.
b. trite, hackneyed writing.
3. the detailed standard wording of a contract, warranty, etc.
4. Informal. phrases or units of text used repeatedly, as in correspondence produced by a word-processing system.
5. frozen, crusty, hard-packed snow, often with icy patches.
Origin: 1855-60 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.
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