Definition Essay - Guidelines for Writing an Impressive Essay
Have you heard about the definition essay?
As the name suggests, a definition essay is about defining a word or a phrase. However it is not the definition that you will find in any dictionary. It is about analyzing the term in detail and through its different implications and meanings.
1. What is a Definition Essay
A definition essay illustrates the definition of a word, a term or a phrase.
The definition should be supported by evidence and thoroughly researched. Some terms have literal meanings as pencil, chair or table that have a widely known and recognized meaning.
Some terms are abstract as success, love and truth. These terms have contextual meanings that could be different for different people, and communities, and can have multiple implications and perspectives.
What is the aim of the writer?
And this is where many students often fall short. They add dictionary meaning only and do not research and study beyond it. If your instructor is looking for a dictionary meaning only, he could get it from the dictionary.
Understand his motive behind giving this essay. he wants you to fully explain the term, concept or idea according to your personal experience and understanding.
1.1 Definition Essay
In writing a definition essay, choosing and understand the term is the key.
The definition needs to be well-researched and thorough. The chosen word must give you room to write sufficiently. Some students choose excessively simple, or complex words, thinking that it would be easy for them to explain it.
Overly simple or complex words will not take you anywhere. Definition essay requires writing that explains and reveal the term that is otherwise unknown to people. Or a different perspective on something.
For a term "love" or "platonic love" everyone has their own meaning of it. So it can qualify as a definition essay topic.
There is a basic structure that should be a part of your essay:
- Inform readers about the term being used
- Present basic and clear information
- Use examples, facts or anecdotes to help your readers, your instructor, comprehend it better
2. How to Start a Definition Essay
When choosing a term or word for your essay, be sure of its meaning and usage. Creativity is good and highly encouraged, but implying opposite or wrong meanings is an entirely different thing. Find and add different and unique meanings but make sure that they are correct. Add examples to highlight your point of view.
An essay written on the word house will be way too simple. It is likely to sound dull and boring. Meanwhile, the transition towards the word ‘home' will up your game.
Play around with this word. Since home is a concept, there are many elements that you can highlight.
Search for a distinct term for your essay. The best way to do it is to work with a controversial concept, or term.
The chosen word should be interpreted differently by others: other communities, other regions and, even, other groups and sects.
Since you analyze the essay with a personal perspective, the essay becomes subjective. The ideas that you present in the essay will be yours, supported by the researched facts and claims.
Discuss the concept with your friends and see what they have to say about it. If the majority thinks of it in the same way, consider switching to another word.
Words with different meanings; literal and contextual, different implications and different origins make great choices for an impressive definition essay.
Read the Textbook Definition
Once you have chosen the word, look for its textbook definition. A textbook definition is the main definition of a word, according to the academic standard.
Research the Origin
Etymology of the word is instrumental for a definition essay.
The historic background of the word can give you insights of its birth, evolution and transformation into the present form.
3. How to Write a Definition Essay
As with other kinds of essays, a definition essay outline is necessary for a successful planning of the essay.
A usual definition essay outline has:
- Thesis Statement
- Body Paragraphs (Depends on the complexity of the word)
3.1 Definition Essay Introduction
The introduction must have these essential ingredients:
Begin with the conventional explanation of the term. If the term has multiple interpretations, pick the idea that is most commonly known and used.
Branch out and introduce other related and unrelated ideas and concepts to describe the topic in detail.
A common technique used by professional writers is starting the introduction with a catchy or intriguing idea. You should try the same rather than the textbook meaning of the word.
A curious fact, famous quotation, shocking sentence or surprising tactics come handy while writing a striking introduction.
Never overload your introduction with irrelevant and excessive content, keep it for other sections.
Keep the introduction clean, brief and interesting.
3.2 Writing a Definition Essay Body
The reader is looking for your personal beliefs regarding the chosen word, or idea. They know the dictionary meaning, at least your professor do, and are not looking to have the same meanings again. Define the term in a new and exciting way.
Make sure that you have an in-depth understanding of the essay before presenting your views.
Follow the following rules to craft coherent and excellent body paragraphs.
- A paragraph comprises a single idea only
- If the chosen word has multiple meanings, discuss as much as possible, and relevant
- Use examples and provide several points to support the core information
Break the body paragraphs as per follows:
- Origin and history of the word
- Complete dictionary explanation with the usage of the word
- Personal and researched definition established from multiple sources, implications and perspectives
3.3 Definition Essay Conclusion
The conclusion is a summary of the overall essay, where you restate the thesis and highlight the main points. Don't introduce new information at this point.
3.4 Definition Essay Examples
3.5 Definition Essay Topics
Some interesting ideas that could make great essay topics are:
- Perfect couple
- Strong leader
- Business women
- Peer pressure
- Modern art
- Social media
- Down whistling
Rules to Follow
Learned the art of how to write a good definition essay? Ready to start with your essay? Great. Consider the following points while composing your essay.
- Familiarize yourself with chosen word, or term, before you get to the writing part.
- A wide range of dictionaries exist in the world. Once you choose the word to add in your essay, properly reference the dictionary that you utilized.
- Explain the origins of the word to make your essay informative, professional and high scoring.
- Offer multiple meanings and interpretations of the word. Later, pick the interpretation that resonates with your idea and adhere to it throughout the essay.
- Compare and contrast technique is best to explore the in-depth meaning of the term.
- With the passage of time, several words underwent changes in their meaning. Discuss what the word meant in the past and how it has evolved in recent times.
- Highlight personal perspective on the chosen term. Don't be afraid to state anything out of the box, as long as it sounds rational.
Writing a definition essay is quite an enlightening experience. When you research different meanings, you learn many new ways to use it in different contexts and situations.
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