Content of this article
- Topic list
- Definition essay structure
A definition essay is an essay written by students in order to define some concept, term, or word. This essay explains something that is not well known.
The definition must be thorough and long. It is essential that you choose a word that will give you plenty to write about, and there are a few standard tactics you can use to elaborate on the term. The definition essay has a few parts: telling what term you are going to speak about, presenting information and using facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand.
First of all, if you are writing definition essay you need to choose a topic that will be interesting. You need to remember that most physical object has definitions which are similar for most people, so you will write about something, that usually do not have a second opinion. At the same time, if you will choose some abstract thing as a topic for your essay, you need to know that this thing has different meaning to different people. You need to pay attention to every detail when you are choosing a topic!
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List of 70 definition essay topics:
- Real estate
- American dream
- Male chauvinism
- Peer pressure
- Juvenile delinquency
- Contemporary art
- Healthy living
- Corporate social responsibility
- Good parenting
- Environmental conservation
- Civil rights
- Racial segregation
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Since a definition essay is primarily focused on explanation and meaning of the definite term or terms, the structure of the essay is focused on expounding the subject. Definition essays are mainly articulated in continuous prose from a subjective angle of the author. The structure must ensure coherent and logical flow of ideas for each paragraph as the author continues to expound on the topic. Each paragraph should present a unique idea with a lead sentence and several sentences expounding on the idea presented by the lead sentence. The subsequent sentences must be logically connected to the topic and ideas the author presents in each paragraph. The paragraphs then have to introduce the subsequent ones and create a smooth transition between them to avoid losing the interest of the reader.
Tips on introduction writing
Introduction is worded and structured to attract the attention of the reader. Here are some tips on how to write a good introductory paragraph for a definition essay:
- Ensure it has a thesis statement;
- It should introduce the body paragraphs and create a smooth transition;
- Avoid a lengthy introduction;
- Do not bury the thesis statement deep in the introduction;
- Avoid grammatical mistakes and ensure coherence of the definition in the introduction.
Tips on body paragraphs writing
The body paragraph harbors much details on the defined term/ phrase. In this article, some key tips on writing body paragraphs of a definition essay:
- Always create a smooth transition from each paragraph to the next;
- Each paragraph should start with a topic sentence;
- Each paragraph should be few sentences in length preferable four or five;
- Avoid lengthy sentences they are likely to be ungrammatical;
- Each paragraph should carry its own idea/opinion;
Tips on conclusion writing
There are necessary definition essay tips that can be instrumental to writing a great definition essay conclusion:
- The conclusion should sum up the content of the entire essay and present the ;author’s unique definition of the subject/topic being discussed;
- The conclusion should refer to contents previously written in the essay;
- The conclusion of a definition essay can also reassert the thesis statement;
- The conclusion should also be short and made up of few sentences;
- Include a short summary of each key point used in the essay.
Does not matter what topic you will choose, what is really important: really believe that you will find your audience. The topic that you are going to choose needs to be interesting for you personally, in other case it would be really difficult to gather all facts and general information to make a good paper. You need to ask yourself: will my future work be interesting to read? Has my future essay a perspective to become a reason for discussion? Is it possible to be serious in talking about this theme but not so much serious to put to sleep this one, who will read it? If the answers are yes, you have a good chance to write an outstanding definition essay.
What is a Definition Essay?
A definition essay works to provide the nitty-gritty details about a word or concept. For example, in an art class, you may be asked to write a definition essay on Vermillion (a vivid reddish-orange color) or Cubism, a specific approach to creating art. A definition essay should always focus on a complex subject; simple subjects won’t provide enough details to adequately write an essay. While the subject may change, the structure of an essay remains the same. All definition essays should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Types of Definition Essays
Professors often assign definition essays towards the beginning of a class. The focus of this type of essay is to explore a specific concept. These concepts are often divided into one of three categories:
In this type of essay, the assignment explores how to fully define a difficult topic. By definition, an abstract concept is one that is vast and complicated. Examples of abstract concepts include liberty, ambition, love, hate, generosity, and pride. The focus of the essay should be to break down the concept into more manageable parts for the audience.
Definition essays that focus on a place tend to explore a specific type of place and how you as the writer view this particular place. Types of places which may be assigned are a country, state, city, neighborhood, park, house, or a room. The place may be huge or small. A key to writing a good definition essay focused on the place is to select a specific place you are familiar with; it shouldn’t be a place you need to research — it should be a place that you know intimately.An Adjective
An adjective essay focuses on creating a definition for an adjective. Common topics may include describing a “good” or “bad” friend, present, or law. The focus of the essay should explore the qualities and characteristics of a good friend or a bad present.
Perfecting the Definition Essay Outline – and Beyond!
Before sitting down to write a definition essay, you’ll need to make out all the parts to the whole. In other words, how, exactly, will you define the subject of the essay? You’ll need to consider all the different parts, or the gears, that make the clock work. Once you’ve brainstormed the parts, you’re ready to create an outline, and then write some paragraphs. The outline for this essay is as easy as in five paragraph essay – it contains an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of body paragraphs is determined by how many aspects you’re subject needs defined. This type of essay is exactly what it sounds like: it works to define a specific word or concept.
Take Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s advice when writing: “Never say more than is necessary.”
So, here is what constitutes the outline of the definition essay:
An introduction paragraph should act as a gateway to the subject of the definition essay. Use this paragraph to gently introduce the subject, and gain the reader’s interest. This paragraph should begin with an attention getter (the “hook”) that makes the reader curious and want to read more. Quotations are always a great idea as are interesting facts. Next, provide background details that the reader will need to understand the concept or idea to be defined in the body paragraphs.
Unlike other papers, like cause and effect essay, the definition essay is unique in that it requires the writer to provide the dictionary definition of the word, and then the thesis definition. Since dictionary definitions are often dry and narrow, the thesis definition is your opportunity truly encompass the complexity of the word.
Each body paragraph should focus on a different aspect that contributes to the overall definition of the subject being discussed in the definition essay.
A definition essay typically contains three body paragraphs, although there can be more if the writer desires. The first body paragraph delves into the origin of the word and how it became mainstreamed into the language. This paragraph can talk about any root words, prefixes, and/or suffixes in the word, as well as the evolution of the word (if there is one).
- The Denotative Definition Paragraph
The second body paragraph should focus on the dictionary definition, and how the word can be used in writing and conversation. For example, love can appear as several different parts of speech; it can be a noun, verb, or adjective.
- The Connotative Definition Paragraph
The third body paragraph, and often the longest one, should focus on conveying the writer’s definition of the word. This definition should be based on both the writer’s personal experience as well as research. Don’t be afraid to be bold – describe this word in a way that no one else has! Be original; describe the word as a color or animal, and defend your choice. Provide examples of the word in action and maintain the reader’s engagement at all costs. Aim for sentences like this:
Quixotic describes the eternal quest of optimistic individuals striving to find the magical, the visionary, the idealistic experiences in life despite all obstacles and naysayers.
This exists as an excellent sentence because it provides clues as to the type of word quixotic is by pairing it with magical, visionary, and idealistic. By stating that it’s a word optimistic individuals would gravitate towards, the audience inherently understands it’s more positive than negative. Indeed, the third body paragraph should focus on communicating the writer’s comprehension of the concept, idea or term.
Just because this is the shortest paragraph, doesn’t mean that it will be the easiest to write. In fact, the better the body paragraphs are, the easier writing the conclusion paragraph will be. Why? Because a good conclusion paragraph reiterates the main points stated in each body paragraph. If the body paragraphs are clear and avoid rambling, pulling the main ideas for the conclusion will be easy! Just remember: you don’t want to repeat yourself word for word, but you do want to echo your main ideas; so summarize yourself instead of copy and pasting.
Many professors may create the definition essay as a personal writing assignment. If this is the case, then it would be appropriate to also discuss what the word or concept means personally to you. Select an example in your own life and validate your descriptions of the word.
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Definition Essay Outline Example
Once you got the concept of your future essay wrapped up, it’s time to put things to the practice and create an outline. Here is what your outline might look like. Our topic is: Love.
- Introduction. Thesis: While different cultures define the concept of love differently, most cultures will agree that love exists as a positive, yet broad concept that has fueled humans since the dawn of time.
- Topic Sentence 1. While the Ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Persian cultures all approached love differently, they also shared many similar attitudes towards love.
- Topic Sentence 2. The denotative definition of love includes 7 noun definitions and 6 verb definitions; this highlights the complex nature of love as a concept.
- Topic Sentence 3. Modern society is fueled by the idea of love whether in intrapersonal, interpersonal, or business relationships.
- Conclusion. Love affects every aspect of the human experience and has since the beginning of time.
Definition Essay Sample
Be sure to check the sample essay, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to write your own argumentative essay. Link: Essay sample: Team Norms and Procedures.
Tips on Writing a Definition Essay from Our Experts
Need some advice from our professional writers? We’ve got you covered. Here are some great tips on how to write an A-level definition essay:
- When writing a definition essay, keep the sentences simple when you can; however, occasionally, you’ll need to create longer, more descriptive sentences. Consider juxtaposing short sentences with longer ones to maintain reader interest.
- Incorporate literary devices when trying to define an abstract word or concept. Check out this example: Love is a campfire on a chilly November evening. Its warmth glides over your entire being, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes – but watch out: get too close, and you’ll catch fire and burn.
- Stuck on deciding on a topic? If you get to select your own topic, remember that selecting an abstract topic is best: love, forgiveness, contentment, or hero are all great options. Don’t fall into the trap of selecting a topic with too many aspects to define such as the history of man.
- Select a topic that allows plenty of original description – that’s the goal: to describe a concept in such a way that hasn’t been done before. Be original: state the history and the original of the word and then delve into your perception of it.
- Finally, begin early. Create an outline to help organize your idea, and then begin the research process to determine the origin of the word as well its evolution. Consider answering such questions as who created the word (Did you know Shakespeare coined the words lonely and majestic?), how it has evolved, and whether it has multiple parts of speech. The more questions you answer, the more definition will be put into your essay!