By: Leanne R.
7 min read
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: Apr 27, 2021
The definition essay is a difficult task for high school and college students. To write one well, you need to use examples or facts supporting the meaning that defines your word.
The following blog post will tell you exactly how to do it! So read on and learn everything about it.
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As the name suggests, a definition essay is the kind of writing that explains a word. It requires you to come up with your academic definition of a specific word. The definition can be concrete or abstract, depending on the word.
For instance, you can provide an exact definition for a “table” but for the term “love,” it isn’t possible to do so. Such terms will rely on your point of view.
Your definition must be detailed and well researched with supporting evidence. When choosing a word, make sure you have plenty to write about and give the audience some additional information from a different perspective.
Writing a definition essay is a simple three-step process. First, present the term that you want to define. Second, provide the necessary information so the reader can understand it easily. Lastly, use facts or anecdotes to increase understanding further.
To further explain what is a definition essay, take a look at its basic elements.
This section will teach you how to write a definition essay and cover the steps that must be followed when writing a great essay.
1. Choose a Word
The first step, of course, is picking the right word. Now, how do you know what makes a topic good?
The perfect topic for a definition essay is an abstract concept that people can’t find when reading an English dictionary. You must have a complete understanding of the term you have chosen.
2. Don’t Pick Objects to be Your Topic
Also, stay away from choosing different objects as your topic; for example, writing about objects such as “table,” “glass,” “door” can be difficult.
Since there isn’t much to write about such topics, you won’t be able to come up with a meaningful piece of writing.
3. Pick a Word with Multiple Meanings
Try finding a word with more than one meaning to different people, a term that would mean something else.
This will give you the opportunity of writing more while including your personal experience and interpreting others.
4. Check its Literal Definition
Take help from dictionaries and encyclopedias, find the official definition of a word’s origin and any theories regarding it.
Along with that, you can find useful information on the internet. You can find several scholarly articles, academic essays, blogs, informative videos, etc.
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5. Look for Different Perspectives
After you have established what a concept or idea means to you, it is now time to look at things from a different point of view.
You can talk to your friends and family about what a word means to them or what is the first thing that comes to their mind upon hearing this word, their feelings when hearing it, etc.
6. Create a Definition
The next step is using the research to come up with your own definition. To write an effective definition, consider the following pointers.
You can define a term by explaining what it does and its mechanism.
Define a term by its structure and how it is organized.
Define a term using analysis. Compare the term you are writing about with other members of its category. The differences are important as they make your term stand out from the rest.
For a misunderstood term or isn’t used in the right context, it is good practice to explain what it does not mean.
Use examples such as facts, anecdotes, images, and stories to help your reader better understand the term.Note: don’t use examples that are against your definition.
An outline is a draft of your essay, which includes the significant components of the essay. Sticking to an outline helps you stay on track and complete your essay logically.
A definition essay outline consists of three main parts:
1. Definition Essay Introduction
You should state your own definition of the term, which may be different from its actual meaning. This allows readers to understand what you are going on in-depth and gives them context for why certain terms exist as they do within society today.
But you must open the essay using an interesting piece of information relevant to the term being defined. For instance, you can use an anecdotal hook sentence and tell an interesting story. To make sure your essay can grab the reader’s attention. You can learn the art of opening your essay with catchy sentences from this detailed article on hook examples.
A definition essay doesn’t have a typical thesis statement. Instead, it requires you to define the term in your own words without giving away the whole definition.
2. Definition Essay Main Body
Here you will fully explain the definition of the word with supporting facts and examples. The number of body paragraphs depends upon the complexity of your topic; it could be three or more.
Utilize these paragraphs to investigate and present important information about the word, its history, usage, origin, context, etc.
3. Definition Essay Conclusion
The conclusion is the part of your essay where you sum up the entire essay. No additional or new information should be introduced at this point.
Leave the audience with some final thoughts explaining how the definition affected you and played a part in your life.
Don’t mention a story or experience that contradicts what you have written in the essay.
Writing a definition essay can be tricky, but before you dive into the writing stage, make sure to read some professionally written examples. Check out this example and get an idea from them.
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You can’t write a good essay without an interesting topic, can you?
Choosing an interesting topic is no doubt a challenging task.
To make this process a little less time-consuming and burdensome for you, here is a list of top definition essay topics.
We hope that this complete guide on how to write a definition essay was helpful and solved all of your queries. If you don't have the time or lack skills, there are always 5StarEssays.com available for your help.
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Its main purpose is to give a complete definition for certain words or notions.
The three main ways of giving definition are:
Literature, PhD Essay
Leanne is one of the most experienced writers on our platform and holds a Ph.D. degree from Cambridge. She has worked as a journalist, an editor, and a content creator for newspapers, magazines, and websites around the world. Leanne’s research and writing skills are unsurpassed making her one of the best-reviewed writers on our platform.