What on Earth is that?
What are some good definition essay ideas?
To answer all of your questions about how to write a definition essay, start reading this complete guide.
As the name suggests, a definition essay requires you to come up with your own academic definition of a specific word, a concept or an idea. The definition can be concrete or abstract depending on the word, for instance, you can provide an exact definition for a “table” but for a concept like “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, or concept idea, make sure you have plenty to write about and can give the audience some additional information from a different perspective.
To further explain what is a definition essay, take a look at its basic elements.
In this section, we will teach you how to write a definition essay and cover the steps that must be followed when writing a definition essay.
The first step, of course, is picking the right topic. 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 the definition of in a dictionary.
It is essential that you have complete understanding of the term you have chosen. When choosing a concrete term, don’t simply copy its definition that you find in a dictionary, instead, explain it in your own words. Search information online, many discussion forums are talking about off the mainstream type of things and you may find something valuable there for your essay.
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 and you won’t be able to come up with a meaningful piece of writing.
Writing about a familiar subject that you understand is far easier than giving your thoughts about something completely new.
For instance, you obviously know what love is, you might have experienced it too, you can easily write about it with respect to your experience and feelings.
Try finding a word that has more than one meaning to different people; a term that would mean something else for different people like literary and contextual meanings are different and what something means literarily may not mean the same in context of a writing. Such a word or idea will give you more ground to expound your views and ideas.
This will give you the opportunity of writing more while including your personal experience and interpreting others’ ideas and thoughts.
Let’s take the same example of choosing “love” as your topic. Love is a concept that everyone experiences in their own way; some take love as a platonic feeling while others do not feel this depth and for them it is nothing more than something topical and worldly. So, you can write about it from different perspectives.
Take help from dictionaries and encyclopedias, find the official definition of a word and its origin, study where the word came from and if there are 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.
This information is posted on the internet by intelligent and well-informed people; use their knowledge to your advantage.
After you have established what a word or concept 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 what a word means to them or what is the first thing that comes to their mind upon hearing this word, what are their feelings when hearing the word, etc.
Record their answers and use them to define your topic.
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 instance, you can compare an iPhone with a Samsung smartphone.
For a term that is misunderstood or isn’t used in the right context, it is a good practice to explain what the term truly means and myths related to it.
Use examples such as facts, anecdotes, images, stories to help your reader form a better understanding of the term.
Note: Don’t use examples that are against your definition.
If you’re writing a definition essay on “hope,” then you could add example about your friend or a neighbor, or someone you know, fighting and recovering from cancer and how they didn’t lose hope
Similar to other academic essays, definition essay requires proper planning and an outline. 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.
Your definition essay outline will have the following components.
In the first paragraph of your essay, introduce the word you have chosen to talk about along with its dictionary definition to provide a basis for understanding.
This is beneficial when your own definition is different from the actual definition.
Also, hooks are an essential part of a definition essay introduction, in order to gain the reader’s attention, use a catchy or shocking piece of information.
A definition essay doesn’t have a typical thesis statement; it requires you to define the term in your own words. Don’t give away the entire definition; leave further explanation for the body of your essay.
The body is the most essential element of any essay; here you will provide in-depth 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.
The conclusion is the section where you sum up the entire essay, no additional or new information should be introduced at this point.
Simply, summarize the main points of the essay in the start of your conclusion.
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.
To get you started with the writing process here is a detailed definition essay format that you can fill step-by-step to craft an effective essay.
You can’t write an exceptional essay without a good 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.
It can be a pretty tricky thing to understand if you haven’t written a definition essay before. Before you jump right to the writing stage, it is best to read and seek help from someone else’s essay on the same topic.
In order to increase your understanding, check out these definition essay examples given below.
When writing a definition essay, keep in mind these dos and don’ts.
Give your own interpretation of a word.
Don’t copy the definition and use it as is.
Choose a term that you have a personal experience with or has impacted you in some way.
Don’t go with a word that you don’t understand the meaning of.
Be specific and narrow down your topic to a single aspect.
Don’t pick something too narrow that has an obvious meaning.
Transition from one paragraph to another using logical words such as moreover, furthermore, in addition to, etc.
Don’t give too many details keep in your word count.
Ask your friends and family to review your essay and give feedback.
Don’t submit your essay without proper proofreading and revision.
We hope that this complete guide on how to write a definition essay was helpful and answered all of your queries.
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