What Is a Definition Essay?
A definition essay (see all essay types) is a piece of writing that explains what a term or a concept means. Some terms have definite, concrete meanings, such as glass, book, or tree. Terms such as honesty, honor, or love are abstract and depend more on a person's point of view.
The term may be evaluated from the direct, or exact meaning and from the point of the subjectivity of the person defining the term. The aim is not only to provide the dictionary definition but also to expound on why the word is defined in such a manner. The approach to be used depends on the subject, your readers, and the essay’s purpose.
3 Steps to a Powerful Definition Essay
When you strat writing a definition essay follow 3 main steps
Step 1: Tell readers what term is being defined.
Step 2: Present clear and basic information.
Step 3: Use facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand.
Choosing Ideas for Writing a Definition Essay
Choosing a definition is a key step in writing a definition essay. You need to understand the term for you to be easy to define it for others. Read the dictionary, but don't just copy the definition. Explain the term's definition briefly in your own words. In addition, it is important to limit your term before you start defining it. For example, you could write forever on the term "love". To limit it, you would write about either "romantic love", "platonic love", or "first love". If you are assigned to write a definition essay here is a great list of definition essay topics:
15 INTERESTING DEFINITION ESSAY TOPICS
If the definition essay topics from the list above don't match your assignment and you need another topic for a definition writing feel free to contact our writing service or read an article on How to Pick Proper Essay Topics.
How to Write a Definition Essay: Outline and Format
Definition essay outline format is similar to that of a typical essay and includes several unique characteristics. Typically, it includes introduction, body and conclusion parts. Here is a detailed focus on each section.
Definition Essay: Introduction
Start with one of the various techniques, such as a short anecdote, an extended definition, or some open-ended questions. Your introduction should conclude with a distinct, precise thesis statement that tells your readers just what your essay will be discussing. All body paragraphs directly and clearly support the thesis statement. The thesis statement usually identifies the term being defined and provides a brief, basic definition.
If you are looking for definition essay examples here is a great one below.
DEFINITION ESSAY EXAMPLE
Definition Essay: Body Paragraphs
Create a thorough definition. There are several ways to define a term. Here are a few options.
|Define by function||Explain what something does or how something works.|
|Define by a structure||Tell how something is organized or put together.|
|Define by analysis||Compare the term to other members of its class and then illustrate the differences. These differences are special characteristics that make the term stand out. For example, compare a Siberian husky to other dogs, such as lap dogs, mutts, or sporting dogs.|
|Define by what the term does not mean|
This distinction can sometimes clarify a definition and help a reader to better understand it.
Use understandable facts, examples, or anecdotes. Select facts, examples, or anecdotes to fully explain your definition. Ask yourself, "Which examples will best help readers understand the term? What examples would most appeal to my readers? Will a brief story reveal the term's meaning?" Do not use any examples that will not support the definition.
Definition Essay: Conclusion
Restate the thesis statement in other words. Give an overview of the main points of the paper, referring from the entire body paragraphs. Link back to the attention grabber to conclude your essay.
The Dos and Don’ts of a Powerful Definition Essay Writing:
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You see a new word that absolutely means nothing to you. The word seems interesting enough so as a wise student you decide to look it up in the dictionary. After researching the term online, you find a proper definition that seems logical enough. Great, you have learned a new word!
However, sometimes a term cannot be described in a sentence or two. This word is so complex and deep that it requires hundreds or even thousands of words to explain it.
Table Of Contents
What is a Definition Essay?
A definition essay can be tricky to write. This type of paper requires you to write a partially personal and also formal explanation of . Considering the fact that this is an essay, you can not pick a term that is describable in a few words. It has to be a complex term that has significant background and origin in history, as well as a term that people can relate to in some way or form. For example, the word "love". It is seemingly impossible to explain this concept in a sentence or two, so we must create an entire essay about it to give it an accurate UNIVERSAL representation!
Types of Definitions commonly used in Definition Essay
- Analysis: Break the subject into parts and define each part individually.
- Classification: What classes does the subject belong to?
- Comparison: Unusual things may be defined by showing its likeness to the common or its contrast from it.
- Details: What are the characteristics and other distinguishing features that describe the idea of the paper?
- Negation: Mention what it is not in order to clear the ground for what it is.
- Origins and Causes: What is the origin of the theme? What is the background information? What is the history of the idea?
- Results, Effects, and Uses: Describe the after effect and uses of the subject.
- What makes someone a Hero
- What is Success?
- Describe Love.
- Explain the definition of Beauty.
- What is Happiness?
- How can one define Respect?
- What is the definition of Loyalty?
- What is Courage?
- Describe Heroism.
- What is Friendship?
These are just some common examples of definition essay questions and topics that are commonly asked on tests and coursework assignments. There are an infinite number of words that can be defined in the span of an essay. The goal here is to pick one that as a student you feel comfortable explaining and portraying. It is time to become a word artist!
A definition essay outline will vary in length based on the term one is describing. As stated previously, some terms are fairly logical and more or less "easy to understand". There are some terms, however, that require deep research and analysis in order to be able and formulate an accurate representation of its meaning! Regardless Every Definition Essay should be written in the classic Intro-Body(s)-Conclusion format.
Steps to take Pre-Writing
Before you even begin writing, obviously a word has to be chosen for the essay to be based around. Here are a few tips to consider before choosing your !
- Choosing a Proper Term:
- As stated previously, it is impossible to write a hefty custom essay on a simple word. That is why it is important to be meticulous during the decision process. Choosing something like a noun is most likely not going to work out. For example, if you chose the term "pencil", there is really not much depth that you as the writer can get into. Sticking in the same sphere, choosing something like "writing" is much more subjective and gives you as the writer some room for implementing different ideas!
- The Word Should be Multi-Dimensional
- Think about it like this: there are certain words in every language that have multiple interpretations; some people will perceive them differently than others!
- Avoid using terms that are universal in every language; an example would be like "hello" or "telephone". Though there are ways you can stretch information on these terms, it is better to pick a juicy one from the start!
- Term Familiarity
- It will be practically impossible to write about a term that has no correlation with your life. You should choose a word that you know well and that also has undiscovered boxes in your life. Ideally, in any research assignment you ever get, there will be some personality knowledgeable gain!
- Do some historical research!
- Considering that humans have been lingual for centuries, there is a 100% chance that your term has a significant past. Check out the Oxford Dictionary's explanation in order to get yourself a point of relevance!
As with any other essay, you are using this part to start informing your writers about the contents of your paper. In a definition essay, the introduction serves two main goals; first, you must give a "standard" definition of the term, and then give the thesis definition!
- Standard Definition: The initial section of the introduction should state the dictionary version. This is important for the readers to have a starting point in regards to the term so as to clarify any possible questions. Also, this is especially important because the standard definition will slightly vary from the thesis one, which allows for multi-dimensionality!
Similar to the classic thesis statement, the thesis definition is your fully completed version of what the term actually means. This is a hybrid of the standard definition, while also mixing in your personal experiences and explanation style! Do not try and describe too much in this section, as you want to split up the bulk of it for the rest of the essay! Make sure that you don’t use passive phrases involving the word when defining your term. The phrases like and are especially ponderous.
The body paragraphs are the part of the essay that really breaks down the term into its core parts. You are taking every variation of the definition and its history and breaking it down into organized sections. An example of good body paragraph structure:
- Body Paragraph 1: History and Origin
- Body Paragraph 2: Full dictionary explanation and use.
- Body Paragraph 3: Personal definition created from experience.
The conclusion is fairly simple and to the point. The main goal here is to summarize the main points of your argument. Rephrase the main parts of the definition and make sure you summed up everything you planned on saying. The last thing that should be mentioned is how this term has impacted you. Usually, before even writing the essay, there is a reason a specific term is picked and part of the reason has to do with personal experience.
Mention how the definition you were talking about affected you.
If the term you define plays a specific part in your life and experiences, your final concluding comments are a great place to concisely mention the role it plays.
Definition Essay Examples
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Jackson Super Writer, from EssayPro
When writing a definition essay, a common mistake is choosing a term that is way too broad for the given assignment. When you’ve chosen a term, try to narrow it down so it is easier to define and find examples for. As the article articulates, the term’s origin is very important to the word’s meaning itself. For example, the word “crush” comes from a variety of similar words in nordic languages. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to list every single one of those words as examples. As with word “crush”, a word can have multiple meanings. You can crush a bag of chips and you can have a crush on someone. Whatever definition your essay has, make sure to define it in a unique way. Be creative and approach it from a new angle. As the article states, it isn’t a bad idea to put in examples from your own life of how that specific word has impacted you. This will definitely make it more interesting for the reader.
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