Skip to content

Earlier Example Definition Essays

Definition Essays: Explaining a Term With Examples, Facts and Anecdotes

View Worksheet

Definition essays define a specific term through explanation. Defined terms can be concrete or abstract. Concrete terms are words like pencil, coffee or fan; abstract terms are words like integrity, honesty or love. When this type of essay defines something abstract, you usually write from your point of view. Before you jump into writing this essay format, make sure you understand the assignment well.

The main components of definition essays

There are three components that dictate what you write in a definition essay:

  • Stating the term that you intend to define
  • Presenting basic information clearly
  • Using examples, facts or anecdotes that are easily understood
  • In addition, any term you select to define in the definition essay should have a complex meaning, possibly mean different things to different people and stay able to be discussed in a meaningful way.

    Choosing the definition for your essay

    While stating the term you intend to define seems pretty straightforward, some words have multiple meanings. The definition is the central point of the essay, so before you can write about it to explain it to your readers, you must first understand the specific meaning. Some words are very broad in definition and lend themselves to creating too broad of a topic. For example, “sleep” is very broad, but you can narrow the definition by defining “sleep deprivation” instead.

    Writing the thesis statement for a definition essay

    In a definition essay, the thesis statement is the term and its definition. It is very simple in nature and consists solely of the term and a very basic definition. Part of developing your thesis revolves around writing an effective definition. There are multiple approaches to defining your selected term:

  • By analysis—compare it to something similar and show differences
  • By function—what it does or how it works
  • By structure—how it is organized or assembled
  • By opposite definition—explain what the term is not
  • Using facts, examples or anecdotes to write the definition essay

    As you define your term more in-depth, select facts, examples or anecdotes you can use to define your term more completely. Considerations you should make while deciding on the best way to define the term include the following:

    • Do certain examples make the term more understandable?
    • Which examples or facts are the most appealing?
    • Can an anecdote best explain the meaning of the term?

    However you decide to explain the term, never use examples, facts or anecdotes that do not support the definition 100 percent.

    Choosing definition essay topics

    You have virtually unlimited choices when it comes to selecting a term to define in this type of essay. However, abstract terms lend the air to more creativity and personal anecdotes. Examples of terms you might choose include the following:

    • Ambition
    • Compassion
    • Funny
    • Kindness
    • Love
    • Respect

    When selecting a term, aim to pick something that you find interesting and something to which you can personally relate. Not only does it make the writing process easier, but it generally makes what you write more interesting. As you wrap up your essay, the final paragraph is often used to share the personal meaning of the word you selected.

    You see a new word that absolutely means nothing to you. The word seems interesting enough so as a wise student you decide to look it up in the dictionary. After researching the term online, you find a proper definition that seems logical enough. Great, you have learned a new word!

    However, sometimes a term cannot be described in a sentence or two. This word is so complex and deep that it requires hundreds or even thousands of words to explain it.


    Table Of Contents


    What is a Definition Essay?

    A definition essay can be tricky to write. This type of paper requires you to write a partially personal and also formal explanation of . Considering the fact that this is an essay, you can not pick a term that is describable in a few words. It has to be a complex term that has significant background and origin in history, as well as a term that people can relate to in some way or form. For example, the word "love". It is seemingly impossible to explain this concept in a sentence or two, so we must create an entire essay about it to give it an accurate UNIVERSAL representation!

    Types of Definitions commonly used in Definition Essay

    • Analysis: Break the subject into parts and define each part individually.
    • Classification: What classes does the subject belong to?
    • Comparison: Unusual things may be defined by showing its likeness to the common or its contrast from it.
    • Details: What are the characteristics and other distinguishing features that describe the idea of the paper?
    • Negation: Mention what it is not in order to clear the ground for what it is.
    • Origins and Causes: What is the origin of the theme? What is the background information? What is the history of the idea?
    • Results, Effects, and Uses: Describe the after effect and uses of the subject.

    Interesting Topics

    • What makes someone a Hero
    • What is Success?
    • Describe Love.
    • Explain the definition of Beauty.
    • What is Happiness?
    • How can one define Respect?
    • What is the definition of Loyalty?
    • What is Courage?
    • Describe Heroism.
    • What is Friendship?

    These are just some common examples of definition essay questions and topics that are commonly asked on tests and coursework assignments. There are an infinite number of words that can be defined in the span of an essay. The goal here is to pick one that as a student you feel comfortable explaining and portraying. It is time to become a word artist!

    Outline

    A definition essay outline will vary in length based on the term one is describing. As stated previously, some terms are fairly logical and more or less "easy to understand". There are some terms, however, that require deep research and analysis in order to be able and formulate an accurate representation of its meaning! Regardless Every Definition Essay should be written in the classic Intro-Body(s)-Conclusion format.

    Steps to take Pre-Writing

    Before you even begin writing, obviously a word has to be chosen for the essay to be based around. Here are a few tips to consider before choosing your !

    • Choosing a Proper Term:
    • As stated previously, it is impossible to write a hefty custom essay on a simple word. That is why it is important to be meticulous during the decision process. Choosing something like a noun is most likely not going to work out. For example, if you chose the term "pencil", there is really not much depth that you as the writer can get into. Sticking in the same sphere, choosing something like "writing" is much more subjective and gives you as the writer some room for implementing different ideas!
    • The Word Should be Multi-Dimensional
    • Think about it like this: there are certain words in every language that have multiple interpretations; some people will perceive them differently than others!
    • Avoid using terms that are universal in every language; an example would be like "hello" or "telephone". Though there are ways you can stretch information on these terms, it is better to pick a juicy one from the start!
    • Term Familiarity
    • It will be practically impossible to write about a term that has no correlation with your life. You should choose a word that you know well and that also has undiscovered boxes in your life. Ideally, in any research assignment you ever get, there will be some personality knowledgeable gain!
    • Do some historical research!
    • Considering that humans have been lingual for centuries, there is a 100% chance that your term has a significant past. Check out the Oxford Dictionary's explanation in order to get yourself a point of relevance!

    Introduction

    As with any other essay, you are using this part to start informing your writers about the contents of your paper. In a definition essay, the introduction serves two main goals; first, you must give a "standard" definition of the term, and then give the thesis definition!

    • Standard Definition: The initial section of the introduction should state the dictionary version. This is important for the readers to have a starting point in regards to the term so as to clarify any possible questions. Also, this is especially important because the standard definition will slightly vary from the thesis one, which allows for multi-dimensionality!

    Thesis Statement

    Similar to the classic thesis statement, the thesis definition is your fully completed version of what the term actually means. This is a hybrid of the standard definition, while also mixing in your personal experiences and explanation style! Do not try and describe too much in this section, as you want to split up the bulk of it for the rest of the essay! Make sure that you don’t use passive phrases involving the word when defining your term. The phrases like and are especially ponderous.

    Body Paragraphs

    The body paragraphs are the part of the essay that really breaks down the term into its core parts. You are taking every variation of the definition and its history and breaking it down into organized sections. An example of good body paragraph structure:

    • Body Paragraph 1: History and Origin
    • Body Paragraph 2: Full dictionary explanation and use.
    • Body Paragraph 3: Personal definition created from experience.

    Conclusion

    The conclusion is fairly simple and to the point. The main goal here is to summarize the main points of your argument. Rephrase the main parts of the definition and make sure you summed up everything you planned on saying. The last thing that should be mentioned is how this term has impacted you. Usually, before even writing the essay, there is a reason a specific term is picked and part of the reason has to do with personal experience.

    Post-writing Tip

    Mention how the definition you were talking about affected you.

    If the term you define plays a specific part in your life and experiences, your final concluding comments are a great place to concisely mention the role it plays.

    Definition Essay Examples

    Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

    Jackson Super Writer, from EssayPro

    When writing a definition essay, a common mistake is choosing a term that is way too broad for the given assignment. When you’ve chosen a term, try to narrow it down so it is easier to define and find examples for. As the article articulates, the term’s origin is very important to the word’s meaning itself. For example, the word “crush” comes from a variety of similar words in nordic languages. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to list every single one of those words as examples. As with word “crush”, a word can have multiple meanings. You can crush a bag of chips and you can have a crush on someone. Whatever definition your essay has, make sure to define it in a unique way. Be creative and approach it from a new angle. As the article states, it isn’t a bad idea to put in examples from your own life of how that specific word has impacted you. This will definitely make it more interesting for the reader.

    Need Some Definition Essay Guidance?

    Sometimes it can be hard to find a term we know well that also has a multi-dimensional definition. This is a common problem for college students and one that is commonly solved by buying an essay online! EssayPro, the best essay writing service on the web, has dedicated paper writers that know all the tips and tricks necessary to write an effective definition essay, leaving you and your professor satisfied!

    Looking for "Write My Essay" Service? EssayPro can help you with any academic task!