Wondering how to write a definition essay? Well, this task won't be an issue for the students who know how the definition paper differs from other types of assignments. Even though the majority of academic papers require thorough research and the use of difficult terms, the definition essay is a bit different. The definition paper doesn’t require a substantial amount of scientific knowledge and technical skills — its primary goal is to define a specific term. The problem here is that you can't just copy the definition from the dictionary. You need to use your writing skills and creativity.
Table of Content:
- What Is a Definition Essay
- Definition Essay Structure
- Definition Essay Outline
- Definition Essay Topics & Ideas
- Tips on How to Write a Definition Essay
- Examples of Definition Essays
- To Sum Up
When writing a definition essay, it’s highly recommended that you show your personal opinion about the term that is being described as well as provide some real-life examples. In the following article, you will get all the ins and outs of how to write a definition essay. We will provide you with some useful tips on how to make your definition paper interesting and informative. Here is what you will learn from the article:
- How to write a definition essay
- How to select the right topic
- How to define the complex terms in your definition paper
If you stick to the tips provided in this article, writing a definition essay will become an easy and fun task for you. We guarantee you’ll complete it without any troubles in the shortest amount of time. So, let’s delve deeper into the nuances of writing an excellent definition essay.
What Is a Definition Essay
Simply put, a definition essay is a clear description of the term, supported by facts, examples, and arguments. The goal of the definition essay is to define a specific term, concept, or idea. Such an essay should not be limited to a dictionary meaning — it should contain an extended definition. The main idea here is that you expand the knowledge of the readers and give them new information about the word that is being described. You need to focus on providing your readers with the information they can’t find in a regular dictionary.
Definition Essay Structure
When writing a definition paper, sticking to a specific structure is especially important. Proper essay structure is very helpful when it comes to presenting your ideas in an order that makes the most sense to the reader. Usually, the structure of a definition essay is very similar to the structure of other creative assignments, such as a synthesis essay, explanatory essay, as well as other types of essays.
Definition Essay Outline
When talking about a definition essay structure, the first thing that comes to mind is a definition essay outline. An outline is a plan of your definition paper. Its primary goal is to organize the main points into paragraphs so it'll be easier for you to write the essay. Creating an outline is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. It consists of the same parts as any other academic paper, which are:
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraphs
How to Start a Definition Essay
The definition paper starts with an introduction. Keep in mind that your essay introduction should include several crucial elements. First and foremost, you should start your paper with a clear explanation of the term you chose to describe. The best way to do that is to find an explanation of the word or concept in the dictionary or on the web (make sure to use only credible sources).
You may be wondering what to do if the chosen term has several meanings. In this case, the solution is simple — just pick the meaning that you like most and add your personal view on the term you are going to explain. Try to give your own interpretation of it.
Another idea worth implementing is to mention something intriguing at the very beginning of the essay. Let your imagination run wild — it can be a curious fact, famous quotation, shocking statistics, a short anecdote, or even a real case from your life regarding the topic.
Overall, the introduction should be brief and informative. It should conclude with a precise thesis statement, which explains to your readers what the essay will discuss.
A definition essay does not have a regular thesis statement since the one who is writing it doesn't need to prove anything. If your goal is to write a good definition paper, then you just need to add a primary assertion of your work to the last sentence of the introduction section. Your thesis statement should just define the term in your own words.
The body of the definition essay helps you think of the essay argument in different ways, look at the term from a different angle. What’s great about such an essay is that you can think of the chosen theme from various perspectives. In the end, you will probably pick the one that is easily understandable.
You can create two, three, or more body paragraphs in your definition essay — it all depends on the complexity of the chosen term and your writing skills. Provide as many facts about the chosen word as possible. You can provide a few meanings of the word if it’s necessary for a better understanding of the subject.
A broad investigation and deep understanding of the topic are also highly recommended when working on a definition essay. Focus on making your readers aware of all the contextual interpretations of the term. Try to uncover all the essential facts about the word. Even though definition papers must be based on facts, sharing your personal vision on the subject is highly welcomed. What we can suggest here is looking through numerous different sources, including books, dictionaries, scholarly articles, educational websites, etc. The main idea here is to develop a deep understanding of the topic before you begin writing your paper.
We’ve prepared some useful tips you may follow when writing the body of your essay:
- A new idea is always a new paragraph
- If the term that is being defined has several meanings, you better explain them all
- Use examples from your life
- Provide various points of view to support the core information
A definition essay must have a proper conclusion. As mentioned before, the main goal of your work is to provide your readers with a complete definition of the chosen term. Your conclusion must summarize the information that was outlined in the essay.
You may describe how the word you chose influenced your life. Readers love intriguing facts from other people’s lives and appreciate the sincere attitude. You can also rephrase the thesis statement and make a larger statement about the term in your conclusion.
Definition Essay Topics & Ideas
One of the challenges you may face when writing a definition essay is choosing the right topic. A great essay topic will capture your reader's attention and make them read your piece until the end. No matter what topic you select, you should be interested in the subject and familiar with it. It would be great if you someone from your circle of friends had a similar experience in the matter you are going to define.
The great news is that today there are plenty of terms to describe. Although some words are crystal clear and don’t require an explanation, there are still a ton of abstract and scientific terms that can become a topic of discussion. For example, such concepts as love, happiness, trust, and empathy may be difficult for some people to explain. Check out some useful tips on how to choose the proper topic for your definition essay:
- Try not to use general words that don’t have hidden meanings
- Make sure your essay is based on facts
- Add a list of references
- Choose topics that are familiar to you
Typically, there are two types of terms students usually choose when writing a definition essay: concrete and abstract definitions. Let’s take a look at each of the following:
- Concrete concepts - describe concrete terms, such as people, places, things, events, etc. For some students, it is much easier to describe concrete words rather than abstract ones. There are tons of concrete things to write about - almost everything that surrounds us in real life. What’s more, when choosing to describe concrete terms, research is happening to be much easier, as there are a lot of known facts in history, science, and so on. Some examples of concrete concepts are cat, table, pen, phone, painting, tree, cake, cup, etc.
- Abstract concepts - refer to an idea or concept that doesn’t exist in the real world (physically) and cannot be touched. Those students who decide to describe an abstract concept should be ready to use their imagination and brainpower. In most cases, describing abstract nouns is a bit more complicated than describing regular concrete nouns. On the other hand, describing something abstract brings so much excitement! Imagine how fun it may be to describe something you can’t see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. Some examples of abstract nouns include liberty, love, anger, freedom, generosity, charity, democracy, etc.
Tips on How to Write a Definition Essay
Once you have chosen a term you would like to describe and have done some research on it, the next step is to select the way to describe your subject matter. Even though there are dozens of ways you can define the chosen term, your goal is to think on how to describe it in a decisive and precise manner. Use your vocabulary and creativity. Imagine if the reader had no other sources aside from your definition paper. Your essay is all he or she has to acquire information about the term. After readers have read your essay, they should be able to have a clear understanding and assurance that now they understand what you are talking about and are able to explain the term with their own words.
Top 3 Ways to Describe the Term
- Defining a term according to historical facts. One of the ways in which you can describe the chosen word is by using historical facts and events in order to support your point of view. Try to describe the subject from its roots and origin.
- Defining a term according to its use. Another great way to describe the subject matter is to explain why it’s important in our daily lives. As it often happens, sometimes describing how the thing works and impacts our lives is enough to understand its meaning.
- Defining a term based on a comparison. You can also describe something by comparing it with the same class of words. For instance, you can emphasize what sets the subject apart, how it stands out, and what makes it special. Compare it with other words of the same class and point out differences. This distinction often clarifies the definition.
More ideas to consider when writing a definition essay:
- When defining a term, try not to blatantly copy what has been written in other dictionaries. Focus on providing readers with your interpretation of what is being discussed.
- Select terms or concepts you understand or the ones that have had an impact on you personally. Do not try to define the term that is hard for you to understand. By doing so, you will only confuse your readers and fool yourself. Think of a definition that would be uniquely yours. Don’t be afraid to give non-standard explanations — that approach will give you good results.
- An effective way to describe a term is by explaining its functions and structure. You can even try to define a term by specifying what it does not mean.
- If the chosen term has a broad meaning, try to narrow it. For example, you may need to write many pages to define the term ‘love’ adequately, but if you limit your topic to ‘self-love,’ it will be much easier for you to craft your definition paper.
- Another thing worth considering when writing an essay is proofreading. The best thing about the proofreading stage is that it allows you to eliminate numerous mistakes and take a fresh look at your writing. If you can, show your essay to your parents or a friend. Maybe they will notice any grammar or lexical mistakes you didn’t see. We are all human beings, and nobody is perfect. Creating a list of references and running your essay through plagiarism detection software are also recommended. When drafting a list of references, you can adhere to the Chicago Citation Style, MLA, or APA Citation Styles.
Examples of Definition Essays
Take a look at some possible topics for your next definition paper. Note that the examples below are about abstract concepts. When writing a definition paper, you can explain a concrete concept as well. It’s all up to you!
Example 1. What is Fame
People interpret the concept of fame differently. Some associate it with wealth, others — with celebrities, richness, something important and well-known. You can use great anecdotes or even movies that devote to the matter to an extent. Do you know any famous people? How do people explain fame? When can you say about the person that he or she is famous? Do you want to be famous? These are the kinds of qualitative questions that are interesting to delve into because of the theme.
Example 2. Explain the Concept of Kindness
There is a famous proverb by Mark Twain that goes: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – do you agree with it? Explore this concept of kindness. What counts as kindness, towards ourselves and other people, and which behaviors might seem like kindness but do more harm than good? Is being kind the same as being nice? Try to find a definition of kindness that you can get behind and support with your reputable facts.
To Sum Up
We hope we managed to explain how to write a definition essay. Now you know how this type of academic paper differs from other essays and what writing style and format to choose when preparing such an assignment. You can start with simple terms and then try to explain more complex words. Practice makes perfect, and you will definitely improve your writing skills with time.
Tips and ideas outlined in this article are tailored to enhance your writing and help you get better grades. However, if you experience some difficulties with this task, our team of professional writers is always ready to help you create a first-class definition essay from scratch. All you need to do is visit our cheap essay writing service website and select the type of essay you require. Welcome to our cost-effective service!