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Generally Good Definition Essays

The necessity to write a definition essay appears each time a student meets a new word or group of words. The teachers want to check how well students work with their vocabularies as well as their:

  • Reading skills
  • Writing skills
  • Research capabilities
  • Knowledge of five-paragraph essay structure and paper formats

There is always a dictionary by your side. But how would you explain the word to others? Which examples would you include while writing your essay to help your reader understand the meaning of the certain term?

Because such type of essay has to be both formal and personal, it sounds rather tricky. But your explanation has to be detailed and clear! Use different words and examples to describe your target word/phrase: involve adjectives and adverbs. Recall all meanings of the certain word in your definition paper. Complex terms usually have deep historical roots, so use them to develop an interesting background for your meaning essay. Make a story out of it. For example, it is almost impossible to explain the depth and all meanings of the word “hate,” so you can play with it in your five-paragraph definition assignment in every sentence. Another great example is “love.” A lot of information may be gathered on a single word.

Defining a word or saying is an exciting process. Often, one sentence or even a whole paragraph is not enough to explain the meaning of the word or phrase. Besides, usually, you’ll be asked to write a definition paper on more than one word. It will take a plenty of time. Be ready to write a common five-paragraph essay when it comes to definition assignment.

Choose Terms and Words for Your Definition Essay

If your teacher does not give specific words or terms to define, start searching for the good ideas on your own. It is important to choose words with many meanings, different characteristics, complex concept, and interesting history to make your reader want to read the entire essay. It’s a good point to look for the best words in the dictionary. You may use the traditional library or online help. There are also many different examples of the definition essays with the proper structures on the internet.

Some of the good topic ideas are below. Hopefully, these suggestions will help.

  • What makes human a Hero?
  • Explain the concept of love/hatred.
  • What success means.
  • Defining the word “beauty.”
  • Is happiness/sadness an abstract phenomenon?
  • What does Respect mean?
  • What is Loyalty as a personal trait?
  • Ways to describe courage.
  • An effective definition of friendship or hostility.

As we can see, good examples of definition essay topics include rather contradictive words. Try to choose one of these words to come up with some good points in your definition paper. It is important to choose the topic with which you are familiar with so that your paper sounds persuasive.

Definition Essay Structure and Outline

An outline is a plan for your writing process. Concerning the number of words in your definition assignment, it usually depends on the complexity of the term described. How long might it take to develop an understanding of the chosen term? Unlike other types of essays, definition papers can vary in their volume. Other types of essays include:

  • Narrative
  • Expository
  • Analytical
  • Argumentative
  • Persuasive
  • Compare and contrast
  • Character analysis
  • Critical thinking

A definition essay contains almost the same information as character analysis paper as it’s all about describing and explaining things.

No matter which word from the dictionary you choose, make your definition project according to the general structure and accepted an order:

  1. Intro
  2. Body paragraphs
  3. Conclusion
  4. Bibliography

No other order is available. You don’t need a huge list of references to be included in the definition essay. Write down only such sources as dictionary or encyclopedia. The example may be taken from your own experience or book/article you’ve read.

You can find more tips on writing an assignment on any type by reading more information online.

Steps in the Process of Writing a Good Definition Essay

It all starts with choosing a good term or several terms to observe, describe, and explain. If you look for the definition paper writing tips, you may notice that most of the authors advise avoiding nouns like “bed” or “pen.” There is nothing else to say about them except for the one-sentence definitions provided in the English dictionary. To be more specific, make a story out of a multi-dimensional term.

If you don’t have any life experience or good examples to include in your definition essay, don’t choose those words. Try to pick similar and yet interesting solutions!

You should know the entire meanings of the term. Thus, it is crucial to conduct research. Oxford Dictionary may help to make your decision.

  1. Introduction. First of all, write an introduction with a strong definition thesis in the last sentence. State the dictionary version first. You will write your examples later in the text.
  2. Basic body paragraphs. Start writing about the history and origin of the term. Add the explanation taken from the official dictionary. Finally, write your personal definition based on your own experience in the last body section.
  3. The conclusion should be simple and to the point. It is important to recall the main definition of your term for your readers. Make a summary of all basic points (arguments). Except for the definition, look up for the impact this word has on you. Write about your personal experience. Leave your reader with the sense of purpose!

Sometimes, it is not that simple even to start working on the definition essay due to the lack of good topic ideas. The lack of writing skills or knowledge of basic academic writing principles may be a barrier too. Remember that you can order professional definition essay writing help from a time-tested company which understands student’s needs better than anyone else!

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What Is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay (see all essay types) is a piece of writing that explains what a term or a concept means. Some terms have definite, concrete meanings, such as glass, book, or tree. Terms such as honesty, honor, or love are abstract and depend more on a person's point of view. 

The term may be evaluated from the direct, or exact meaning and from the point of the subjectivity of the person defining the term. The aim is not only to provide the dictionary definition but also to expound on why the word is defined in such a manner. The approach to be used depends on the subject, your readers, and the essay’s purpose.

3 Steps to a Powerful Definition Essay

When you strat writing a definition essay follow 3 main steps

Step 1: Tell readers what term is being defined.
Step 2: Present clear and basic information.
Step 3: Use facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand.

Choosing Ideas for Writing a Definition Essay

Choosing a definition is a key step in writing a definition essay. You need to understand the term for you to be easy to define it for others. Read the dictionary, but don't just copy the definition. Explain the term's definition briefly in your own words. In addition, it is important to limit your term before you start defining it. For example, you could write forever on the term "love". To limit it, you would write about either "romantic love", "platonic love", or "first love". If you are assigned to write a definition essay here is a great list of definition essay topics:


If the definition essay topics from the list above don't match your assignment and you need another topic for a definition writing feel free to contact our writing service or read an article on How to Pick Proper Essay Topics.

How to Write a Definition Essay: Outline and Format

Definition essay outline format is similar to that of a typical essay and includes several unique characteristics. Typically, it includes introduction, body and conclusion parts. Here is a detailed focus on each section.

Definition Essay: Introduction

Start with one of the various techniques, such as a short anecdote, an extended definition, or some open-ended questions. Your introduction should conclude with a distinct, precise thesis statement that tells your readers just what your essay will be discussing. All body paragraphs directly and clearly support the thesis statement. The thesis statement usually identifies the term being defined and provides a brief, basic definition.

If you are looking for definition essay examples here is a great one below.


Definition Essay: Body Paragraphs

Create a thorough definition. There are several ways to define a term. Here are a few options.

Define by functionExplain what something does or how something works.
Define by a structureTell how something is organized or put together.
Define by analysisCompare the term to other members of its class and then illustrate the differences. These differences are special characteristics that make the term stand out. For example, compare a Siberian husky to other dogs, such as lap dogs, mutts, or sporting dogs.
Define by what the term does not mean

This distinction can sometimes clarify a definition and help a reader to better understand it.

Use understandable facts, examples, or anecdotes. Select facts, examples, or anecdotes to fully explain your definition. Ask yourself, "Which examples will best help readers understand the term? What examples would most appeal to my readers? Will a brief story reveal the term's meaning?" Do not use any examples that will not support the definition.

Definition Essay: Conclusion

Restate the thesis statement in other words. Give an overview of the main points of the paper, referring from the entire body paragraphs. Link back to the attention grabber to conclude your essay.

The Dos and Don’ts of a Powerful Definition Essay Writing:

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