Definition of placeholder in English:

placeholder

noun

  • 1Mathematics
    A significant zero in the decimal representation of a number.

    • ‘It emphasises the use of zero as a placeholder.’
    • ‘The use of zero as a placeholder was probably first developed by the Babylonians, possibly as early as 1500 BCE.’
    1. 1.1 A symbol or piece of text used in a mathematical expression or in an instruction in a computer program to denote a missing quantity or operator.
      • ‘But even users of low-end databases can benefit from using placeholders because they ensure strings will be quoted correctly, even if they contain quotation marks or apostrophes.’
      • ‘With the Impress files created, I needed to replace my graphic image placeholders with the actual image.’
      • ‘Not only does this reduce the risk of someone messing with our SQL, but some database drivers will take advantage of our placeholders in subsequent queries, giving us a speed boost.’
      • ‘Notice how we use DBI's placeholders, shown here as a question mark in the list of VALUES, to avoid potential problems with quoted strings within our SQL query.’
      • ‘The HTML files contain placeholders for data that will be substituted in at runtime.’
  • 2Linguistics
    An element of a sentence that is required by syntactic constraints but carries little or no semantic information, for example the word it as a subject in it is a pity that she left, where the true subject is that she left.

    • ‘The it in suffice it to say is an impersonal or indefinite pronoun, one that functions as a grammatical placeholder without supplying much real meaning.’
    • ‘According to this model, readers process text in parallel at several levels of analysis, which mesh the ease of identification with the role of function words as structural placeholders.’

Pronunciation

placeholder

/ˈpleɪshəʊldə/