How to write definition essay? Here is some good news for the students around the world. There is nothing difficult about writing an academic definition essay. As you can guess from its name, it’s about explaining a particular word or phrase. However, it is not enough to provide the meaning.
No matter whether you have to make a paper on the specific nouns like “bread” or “grass,” or more abstract terms such as “sympathy” or “honor,” it is important to complete a full essay with its regular structure:
It’s up to the student to decide on the writing technique. He can choose individual voice. An effective definition essay can be:
- Based on one term
- Based on full phrase
- Broad (all interpretations included)
- Narrow (one description involved)
An example of broad definition would be:
Humans are two-legged mammals.
An example of narrow meaning is:
Humans are religious creatures.
A broad type contains issues that are not referents of the concept. It is different when it comes to narrow descriptions. Historical research is critical to collect diverse meanings.
It is important to make sure that you obey the accepted guideline and useful prompts. Free online paper examples are useful too.
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How to Write a Definition Essay: General Rules
It is possible to explain the term using real life examples. Another way is to make a story based on your own life experience. Professional examples help to understand the item better. If you work in some organization, share the professional application of target word.
Write the definition essay in both official and personal manner. It should combine dictionary meaning and personal reflection. You are allowed to write down supporting essay elements. (See point 3 below)
In short, follow three easy steps:
- Let a reader know your topic
- Include abstract with clear, background information
- Add jokes, quotes, shocking facts, rumors, personal feelings, and another memorabilia.
If you enjoy writing the essay, the audience will love it too.
Effective Definition Advice
Writing an effective definition requires avoiding typical mistakes:
“A widespread error is selecting a word which has too broad meaning. Narrow it down to make it simpler to identify. Pay attention to the word’s origin and history. If we take “crush,” it is important to point to its Nordic roots. It means multiple definitions are available. Make a list of existing meanings in your paper. A person may have a crush on another person. Godzilla is crushing everything around. Still, make an original definition example. Think about how this particular word has impacted your life. Readers love observing vivid and unique examples given by the writers.”
Taylor Summers, Professional Academic Writer
Approaches Used to Define Particular Term
Except for watching the definition of the selected word on the site of Merriam-Webster or another online dictionary, you should add other valuable information. The different ways to explain the meaning of your term make the topic more understandable.
- Analysis: Before you write, divide the subject into sections. Explain how many types of friendship or love exist. Include the definition of the romantic, platonic, parental, and immortal love. What makes particular term stand out from the rest?
- Comparison: The writer contrasts some subjects. An essay may appear more lucid to the readers. An example may be comparing two political regimes, music genres, religions, etc. Such process is a part of analysis approach. It helps to identify item’s unique features.
- Structure: Explain the way something is organized/joined.
- Details: Not only physical traits and internal features are great for defining the term. To make the meaning of your word clear, it is good to add conceptual background and traditional views on the matter.
- Negation: People sometimes understand things better if you include the wrong definitions in your essay too. You may stress that Hinduism has nothing to do with Christianity. Start writing about the differences between the two religions. A good idea is to begin essay this way.
- Examples and Anecdotes: A smart and witty writer always adds samples and jokes. It is especially helpful when an abstract concept has to be defined. E.g. if you have to write about the definition of “accountability,” highlight this term with the help of some good real-life story.
- Origins and Causes: Sections refers to history. It is important to include the word’s background in the structure of your definition paper. Trying to define “light,” you may recall the history and origins of how the initial lamp was invented. Note: To learn more information on the essay’s structure, read this blog carefully.
- Outcomes, effects, and causes: Words and phrases like “Gender Discrimination” or “Poverty” cannot be fully defined without explaining the consequences that they have for the humanity. Such terms as “Cataclysm” and “pollution” lack poignancy. Mention their effects and causes.
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Know These Recommended Steps Before Writing Definition Paper
Now, it is time to pay attention to five steps that may help you to write the definition essay better.
The basic steps in the process of writing a good definition essay include:
- Conduct a research to select a word.
- Searching the meaning in the official dictionary.
- Asking people around what they think is the best definition of the term.
- Look how the term is defined in cinema, press, literature, and social media to gather many good definitions.
- Look at the gathered information. Analyze different meanings of the word.
- Grabbing audience’s attention with a powerful hook.
- Developing effective thesis statement the way you do for any other academic project. In this sentence, determine the target word as well as provide a short explanation.
Although you should use your imagination, do not ignore important sources that will help you explain the meaning of any chosen word or term:
- Dictionary definitions
- Personal interviews
- Social media questionnaire
- YouTube videos
Consider two basic types of definition essays. They are argumentative and narrative papers.
- Argumentative essay definition (tries to prove the given interpretation is the only correct and acceptable)
- Narrative essay definition (writer includes a story to create an image in reader’s mind with details, plots, and characters)
Definition Essay Mistakes
Top Selected Definition Essay Topics
Here are some of the best topic ideas for your future definition essay:
- Human body
- Excellent weekend
- Global warming
- True love
- A real problem
- Personal crisis
- Having a Rest
- American Dream
- Good Music
You may counsel professional academic writers to get more definition essay topics ideas.
Follow This Definition Essay Outline
Have a look at these simple instructions before writing your definition essay:
- Work on your topic idea. Find a really cool word.
- Find what the term means in the official dictionaries. Write them down in your own words to avoid plagiarism.
- Use various articles and videos to help to define and explain the chosen word.
- Write down some possible interview questions.
- To better understand the concept, interview people around to find out how they define the topic. Get people of different ages, areas of specialization, titles, and with different life experiences.
- Social media may help to gather more information if you post the questions/answers online.
- Have you worked with each source individually? Grab the best meanings the sources offer. Separate all responses in groups/categories before writing the final version of your definition essay.
Ways You May Use to Analyze Sources
- Get ready to write the essay on love or any other selected word by observing the gathered information. From the first interview to the last article, analyze the meanings and put a number on each separate definition. Divide definitions into the official ones, those offered by people, and your own thoughts. Choose the most commonly met meaning. It would be the best definition ever.
- Develop a numbered list of all definitions from various sources. Write the names of people who shared their thoughts.
- To explain the word properly, analyze all results repetitively.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated about explaining the meanings of different words. You can purchase affordable online help with any sort of academic essays online. There are many writers online who offer their services. We recommend turning to the time-tested website which delivers all orders on time without much expenses from the customer’s side.
Let us imagine that you face a situation when the particular word is completely new to you. It can be interesting or not; it may relate to your studies or work. In any case, it is better to fulfill your vocabulary by searching for its meaning and revealing new knowledge in a separate type of academic writing – definition essay. Definition essay examples along with some great topic ideas listed in this expert article will help to get acquainted with this sort of writing.
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A definition essay is not a complicated type of task, but if a student finds it hard for any reasons, he/she may contact professional online writing service to let it solve a homework assignment on any topic.
What Is a Definition Essay?
A definition of the definition essay sounds like a tautology. ‘What is a definition essay’ is the initial question to answer if you want to master one more tricky type of academic writing. A definition essay is an academic type of paper, which serves as a detailed dictionary entry, which takes minimum half of a page long. Dictionaries provide brief explanations of words. This type of academic assignment makes them longer. Add some vivid examples from real life and supporting evidence to the definition essay after the clear description of the target term. Experts recommend developing a paper of this type on a word that belongs to one of the given groups:
It is not a good idea to write explanation papers on the words with narrow, specific meanings like “bread” or “bed.” Try something broad instead. Choose words like “freedom” or “beauty” to interpret. Provide all possible meanings of these terms, including personal interpretation; add examples from personal experience, and share the opinions of other people. The 1st thing to include is an official dictionary’s explanation.
Usually, a definition essay is not complicated to write. It is smaller than any other type of writing task; it has a single goal – to explain what the term stands for, and it requires no arguments to convince the audience in the author’s position (unless the writer tries to persuade his personal explanation of word is the most accurate one). A student can include both official definition and his own ideas regarding the given term. That is how such essay can occupy one whole page.Example:
Steps to Writing a Definition Essay
Begin with selecting a proper topic. The teacher may give several words to discuss to make the paper longer. A student will barely earn a high grade for a word which requires several sentences or even words to describe it. It is better to select complex terms with the broad definition. They should possess a long history and interesting origins - come up with the whole 1-page story for your word.
Many times, a complicated term with multiple meanings cannot be explained in a sentence or two without sharing vivid examples. Even a full paragraph may not be enough to share the entire sense. Deep words may demand a lot of words/phrases to describe them - that is when a teacher may give a specific assignment to the class. Look at the detailed description of each paper’s section below.
On the whole, it works this way:
- Select a word to explain (avoid those you do not completely understand), introduce it to the target reading audience. The primary purpose is to outset the contents of the essay.
- Apply some primary sources (dictionaries, vocabularies, encyclopedias, textbooks) to see how the majority of the population tend to explain the chosen term. Combine/merge the offered definitions in a single paper.
- Reveal the selected word in the introduction.
- Deliver the detailed information about the chosen term(s) in the 2-3 body paragraphs, logically united with the help of various transition words. Stress any typical mistakes in the other meanings of the term.
- Decide on several sound examples to depict and interpret the explanation of your own.
Each student has to get ready before coming up with the written version of the definition essay. It won't take too much time.
If your teacher does not provide you with the word, begin with exploring all possible topic ideas. We would like to share several hints that will help to make a decision and get ready!
- Select your word wisely. There is no chance of writing a hefty essay on a simple word with an obvious or single definition. While making your decision, try to be meticulous. Avoid including nouns or verbs. What we mean is that you won't write too much about the words like "bed"; or "dress." Of course, you can use all your imagination, but it will only lead to wordiness. However, if you choose some process to analyze, you may come up with the several good ideas. You may select "painting" or "observing." They are more or less subjective so that you can give it a try!
- Pick only terms with multiple definitions. You can find many multi-dimensional words in every language. Select words that have a lot of synonyms like "gorgeous" or "fight." People tend to perceive such words differently – it is your chance to stand out!
- Ignore words that are universal in every culture (these words can be "hi," café,” or "telephone.")
- Do you get the definition of the term? If not, it is better to switch to another one. Keep in mind that teachers want to see some examples drawn from student's own life instead of reading pages of definitions only. Explore all dictionaries to check your choice.
- Conduct historical research to understand the origins of your term.
- Turn to the Oxford Dictionaryor another official dictionary to find the full interpretation of the term.
Preparing a Definition Essay Outline
Even though a definition essay is smaller than other types of essays, it may still have an outline. The volume of words you write depends on the complexity of chosen term or phrase. Choose a whole phrase, idiom, or proverb to talk about in your definition essay, and remember: some words are truly logical and simple to explain. At the same time, some words demand an in-depth research and investigation to formulate an exact representation of their meaning.
Every academic paper should obey the next well-known structure: Introduction-Body-Conclusion, and a definition essay is not an exception.
You may read more about writing an outline in this article.
Definition Essay Introduction
An introduction must contain a dictionary (official) explanation of the selected word, which a student can find in the English dictionaries on the needed page. It is possible to search on the web to avoid paperwork. When a correct definition (or several interpretations) pops up, try to make them concise and clear before implementing it into your introduction. Choose the best meaning concerning your context. Decide in which light you would like to discuss the chosen word (example: words like “frenemies” have 2 sides of a coin, representing positive (friends) and negative (enemies) at the same time).
If a student does not want to start the paper with the direct definition, a hook may open the essay. A hook is a catchy sentence added to attract reader’s attention. It can be a:
- Literary quote
- Famous people quotations
Words like "love" and "hate" are excellent choices as it is impossible to define them in short. There is no specific definition of these words. A student may involve a universal interpretation of one of these words; include the offers from the dictionaries, and add a few words describing the personal understanding of the word. Such type of writing does not need a regular thesis.
Find more ideas below or have a look at the excellent examples of definition essays online from the academic experts.
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Definition Essay Thesis Statement
The only thing you should keep in mind which makes this type of essay different is whether you deal with the standard or thesis definition. You may include both to get the full credit. The first type of definition is the one taken from the official sources like dictionaries. It is an important starting point. As for thesis definition, this sentence involves the full version of what the word means. Mix standard definition with your own experience plus the usage of the term - it is all about writing a good introduction.
A paper of this type does not need a regular definition essay thesis statement because there is nothing a student should prove about the topic. The main idea is just to explain the term. Decide on the most accurate meaning discovered in the dictionaries. Here is an example of a thesis statement:
“Naturalism regarding literature is a specific perception of the real world: everything going on and surrounding people looks like an experiment of nature.”
The author mentions that this definition works for the literary aspect. It means the word has other interpretations based on the different subjects.
Body of an Essay Definition
A body of an essay definition has an original structure compared to the argumentative/persuasive papers. A student has to share various points that constitute the explanation of the chosen word/term. A background information is not obligatory – just check whether every separate idea has a separate paragraph and stick to the structure below.
- Claim #1: Include the 1st element of the explanation. Provide an in-depth analysis of how the offered example(s) substantiates the meaning of the world;
- Claim #2: It will be the next aspect of the word + supporting examples;
- Claim #3: In case the word has more than 2 meanings (bark, jam, mine, and more), list one more definition. It will be a typical 5-paragraph essay.
Also, the body must contain:
- History and Origin
- Complete dictionary explanation and usage
- Personal interpretation
Conclusion Definition Essay
There is nothing special about the conclusion definition essay – summarize multiple meanings of the same word or remind of the basic definitions of several simple words discussed in the paper.
A conclusion must contain a summary & analysis of the mentioned points. The good idea is to explain the way specific term influences the author’s life; return the hook sentence and thesis statement from the introduction to finish the paper, but reword both sentences.
Definition Essay Examples: Scientific Terms Explained!
Are you looking for some great definition essay examples? Example:
Scientists use electrical circuits for passing signals, saving data, conducting calculations; the primary goal is to manipulate energy. A voltage is…
Do not start with the explanation from dictionary directly. If you do, paraphrase the offered definition to avoid problems with plagiarism.
The Doppler Effect
Pretend the wave pattern created by the tip of a fluctuating rod, which moves across the water. In case the rod had been vibrating in a single…
Once again, professional writers avoid starting explanation essays with the direct definitions of the selected term. Experts recommend choosing scientific terms to interpret.
Newton’s Law of Gravity
Kepler’s laws were not enough to explain the way planets live and move, so Newton came up with some other perfect interpretations of the Solar System’s work.
40 Brilliant College Definition Essay Topics!
The article has mentioned some of the great ideas to discuss & explain in a definition paper. Grab more excellent definition essay topics divided into several categories to make it easier.
Definition Essay Topics for College
- Healthy living: Things it includes
- Worthy job: Factors that influence employee’s satisfaction
- Qualified college professor
- Necessity of the second language
- Happy marriage
- Platonic love
- College degree: How it matters in the life of each student
- Winning college application
- Freedom of choice
- Mobile apps for education
Definition Argument Essay Topics
- Corporate social responsibility
- Fair elections
- Racial segregation
- Death penalty (list pros & cons after the explanation)
- Cheating: Something out of control
- Massive murders: Causes & prevention measures
- Cigarette smoking: Healthcare professionals definition
- Cell phones: Two sides of a coin
- English as an official language in the United States
- Creationism: Possible new school subject
Extended Definition Essay Topics
- Right to privacy
- Healthy appetite
- True friendship
- Bad coach
- Caring parent
Common Topics for Definition Essay
- The traits of a true hero
- Describing success
- What is love?
- Different interpretations of beauty
- How each human defines happiness?
- The best definition of respect
- The definition of loyalty
- What does courage mean?
- The essence of friendship
- The nature of hate
You have seen the most common samples of topics students choose when receiving definition essay tasks. You may face one of these assignments on the test or as your coursework. There is no limit - a lot of words have multiple, deep meanings and interpretations.
The purpose is to select the term, which you feel comfortable with and which seems interesting to you and people around. Avoid typical essay mistakes and pitfalls. You can become a word artist with the help of your pen or computer only!
Writing Definition Essay: Outro
When you face difficulties in accomplishing this type of academic paper, there is no other way than turning for help. The teacher will not complete the assignment. It is important to choose professional assistance offered by one of the time-checked online writing services. Place an order once sharing your definition essay instructions, and get a complete paper worth of A!