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How to write a Definition Essay?

Writing a definition essay is more interesting than just making a list of word or term definitions found in the dictionary. Term or word definitions are usually explained in one or two sentences. On the contrary, a definition essay should consist of full paragraphs. A student should provide academic and unique definition of a certain word or term. Such definition should be thorough, detailed and long enough for an essay. That is why it is necessary for a student to choose a term or a word that is interesting enough to think about or describe. Usually there are two main techniques that can be applied while elaborating on the selected term or word.

When writing a definition essay, it is important to select a term that is not an object or a physical thing. For instance, people agree on the meaning of a dog or a car. The dog is a domesticated animal with an acute sense of smell. The car is a vehicle with four wheels. That is why it is recommended to choose more abstract and intellectual word or term and use relaxed writing style when writing a definition essay in order to accomplish it with the use of experience, skills and deep knowledge.

Definition essay and its meaning

Definition essay is a type of writing that helps to describe, explain and clarify the meaning of a certain word or term. There are some words and terms with a clear meaning. For example, a pencil, a flower, an apple, a cup, etc. On the other hand, there are some terms with an abstract meaning, which depends on individual’s view and interpretation, for example, belief, love, trust, etc. That is why when you write a definition essay, you should provide effects and causes, analysis, examples, description, details and personal experience, etc. Definition essay writing is often considered a difficult task.

Main steps to completing a good definition essay

  • Inform what word or term you are going to define
  • Provide only clear and accurate information
  • Provide only easy for reader’s perception facts, examples and anecdotes

Before writing a definition essay select a word or a term that:

  • Has abstract and complex meaning
  • Has different meanings depending on individual’s viewpoints thus is disputable

Some examples of definition essay topics

  • Freedom
  • Democracy
  • Intellect
  • Genius
  • Reality
  • Feminism
  • Marxism

Writer has to show deep knowledge about the selected term when writing a definition essay, interpret it and provide his/ her opinion regarding the topic.

Definition Essay and topic opinions

People are subjective in their nature. That is why when you write a definition essay, your task is to give your personal opinion regarding the subject and support it with evidence.

Connotation and denotation are the main two parts of a definition essay. Denotation proves the importance of the meaning or explains the meaning of the term. On the other hand, connotation suggests that the word or term is:

  • Abstract and complex in its meaning
  • Debatable
  • Familiar to the writer
  • Possible to check in the dictionary
  • Possible to study and find its origin

Choosing the needed word or term for definition is the first step during the writing process. Writer needs to understand the term prior to defining it for the readers. For example, when explaining the meaning of love, writer can explain it as “liking a person.” However, it has to be stated what is its indication? Does it include loyalty, passion and dedication?

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Writing an outline for definition essay

Provide a description of how the thing can work or what it can do; how one can assemble or make it. Compare the discussed term with the others in your class, for example, how one breed of a horse can be compared to other breeds.

Different ways of definition

There are different approaches to definition, for example, by structure, by analysis, by the meaning, etc.

Definition essay is a kind of explanation of a certain meaning. That is why it is necessary to keep the word in mind while you are defining it, to provide clear and robust clarification and of course, to use illustrations, facts and maybe anecdotes for better definition.

Definition Essay Format (Structure)

The Introduction

In the introduction part, you have to catch reader’s attention by providing an interesting fact, example or an anecdote. After that a thesis statement should be written where you provide a topic and definition.

A “hook” should be provided in the introduction part. It has to be eye-catching for the potential reader. Include a definition together with a contrasting definition in order to present your meaning. Then continue with writing your viewpoints.

Body paragraphs in definition essay

It is important to begin new paragraph with a topic sentence. Then one has to develop the paragraph with the help of the term analysis. For example, divide it and define every part. You can also compare, exemplify, illustrate and negate the term by providing additional information.

Conclusion part

Conclusion provides a summary of an essay. Here you can predict, evaluate, compare, forecast and so on. Do not forget to review all the major points discussed in the paper and provide a reflection on the ideas.

Major points to consider

  1. Term or concept definition is something more than rewriting their dictionary definition
  2. In case you cannot provide new meaning or description, use already existing definition. Provide the definition using your own words.
  3. Choose familiar terms or words only.
  4. Try to avoid words or terms which are difficult to comprehend since you can confuse their definition.
  5. All terms and words can be defined by purpose, function, nature or their structure.
  6. Providing an opposite meaning of the terms can also help to define them. Put am emphasis on their differences.
  7. Try to follow a certain structure. Define the term or word in the introduction. Provide an explanation in the body paragraphs and sum up everything in the conclusion part.

Definition Essay Topics

  • Health
  • Freedom
  • Communism
  • Talent
  • Feminism
  • Genius
  • Happiness
  • Love
  • Trust
  • Dignity
  • Respect
  • Humor
  • Hate
  • Privacy
  • Utopia
  • Peace
  • Honor
  • Perfection
  • Hope
  • Self-esteem
  • Belief
  • Achievement
  • Racism
  • Morality
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