Definition of placeholder in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpleɪshəʊldə/


1 Mathematics A significant zero in the decimal representation of a number.
Example sentences
  • The use of zero as a placeholder was probably first developed by the Babylonians, possibly as early as 1500 BCE.
  • It emphasises the use of zero as a placeholder.
1.1A 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.
Example sentences
  • The HTML files contain placeholders for data that will be substituted in at runtime.
  • With the Impress files created, I needed to replace my graphic image placeholders with the actual image.
  • 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.
2 Linguistics 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
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