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If text is boilerplate, this means that the text can be used by various people without significant alteration. The term often refers, for example, to the text of syndicated newspaper columns, or standard passages that can be found within most contracts. The term comes from the original practice of printing such passages using sheet steel as a result of the need for greater durability (since the text would be printed repeatedly). Some companies re-use certain policies or sections of their Terms and Conditions to share when necessary. 

Definition of boilerplate 

Boilerplate is a descriptive word used to describe phrases or sentences that are a standard way of saying something and are often used in business, medical and science writing; content producing; or as a saved template for future writing. Boilerplate phrases or sentences can help clarify writing by providing identical ideas and phrasing for a number of documents or pieces of writing within a particular group of writings. In order to save time, boilerplate phrases and sentences are used to avoid creating multiple terms for one idea, which may be confusing for readers and listeners. The first known use of boilerplate was in 1897.

Examples of boilerplate

An example of boilerplate text would be syndicated weekly newspaper material that is then distributed throughout a chain of media outlets in exactly the same format as the original release of a news story. Now that social media and online blogs have also joined in on the news outlets loop, it has become more convenient with the growth of technology to share updates around the world. Using precisely the same language in boilerplate text helps the syndication and newspaper or media outlets avoid litigation or responsibility for incorrectly paraphrased or reported information that was a result of the original news story.

Standardized text is another example of boilerplate text. By definition, it is formulaic or hackneyed language; bureaucratic or oversimplified. The effect in this case may be repetitive, uninformative, and archaic language which may result in a loss of understanding in the present or the future. Therefore it is important to update boilerplate text frequently to avoid this issue.

In contractual law, “boilerplate language” has a different but similar meaning: it describes portions of a binding contract between two or more parties which are considered standard practice. 


Boilerplate text, phrasing, and language is part of the information architecture phenomenon known as “single-sourcing.” Boilerplate text creates the basis for a database of acceptable, timely, and legitimate language and terminology within a business organization, helping technical writers, engineers, and process-creators come together with identical words and concepts. Boilerplate text encourages efficiency in an organizational environment by eliminating the need for original and unique organizational concepts to be defined differently over and over again depending upon context. 

Through the use of boilerplate language, phrasing, and expression, large amounts of time are saved in the process of everyday business systems, and information can be stored, retrieved, and reused repeatedly without redefining it. In some cases, of course, redefinition is necessary, for instance when terminology has become outdated or archaic, or no longer applies to a particular process. In these instances, boilerplate language may become obsolete, or even temporarily obsolete while new definitions are created and honed by information architects.

Boilerplate language may be created and stored on the internet in the form of pre-created letters for advertisement requests, pre-written complaints about a certain product, online petitions, or other business-oriented requests. These form letters can be very helpful (and are also known as templates) when writing the same type of request repeatedly over a long period of time.

Computer programmers define “boilerplate” as portions of code which must be included in many different places during coding with little to no alteration. The functionality of a program or website is the main factor in amount of boilerplate code used. High-level mechanisms can reduce the need for repetitious boilerplate code. Bookkeeping code is not part of the business logic, but instead is interleaved with it to keep data structures updated or able to process secondary program aspects.

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