We use the word "boilerplate" a lot at work. It's such a strange phrase that seems like it's probably traveled far from its original meaning, so I looked up what that meaning was.

It goes back to newspapers. Large advertisers and content syndicates would distribute ready-to-go printing plates to local newspapers that could easily just go onto the press and be ready to print without any modification. These plates resembled rolled steel that was used to make boilers.

Hence: boilerplate.


@srol @grainloom Always thought it was a programming term. TIL!

@cadey @grainloom yeah, in journalism we use it to mean something generic or not noteworthy, like a spokesperson might make a "boilerplate" statement if it seems like its not addressing anything specific and could be in response to anything really. Occasionally its also used to describe articles that get written a lot with little variation, like "That's a boilerplate weather story"

@srol @cadey @grainloom I'm trying to think of synonyms now:

Canned response
Form letter
Stump speech
Fill in the blank

Btw the legal field seems to use the term also. And "model" for legislation.

Trying to think about similar terms for when someone tells you something generic verbally in person.

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