“Boilerplate (noun): Standard, stereotypical news stories, features, etc., syndicated to newspapers; ready-to-print copy; pedestrian or hackneyed writing (from the printer’s matrix or plate form). Adj. boilerplate

‘In newspaper jargon, you might call all this the boiler plate of the novel—durable informative matter set up in stereotype and sold to country newspapers as filler to eke out a scarcity of local news, i.e of ‘plot.’ And the novel, like a newspaper boiler plate, contains not only a miscellany of odd facts but household hints and how-to-do-it instructions (you can learn how to make strawberry jam from Anna Karenina and how to reap a field and hunt ducks).’ Mary McCarthy, On the Contrary”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

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