Essays will remain an integral part of your academic journey.
It can be either easy or challenging to craft essays, based on the skillset of the writer.
Have you heard about the definition essay?
There are some rare species of essays and it is one of them. By saying this we do not mean that this is some weird or difficult kind of essay, no it is not. It is just not like a mainstream essay that involves explaining and contemplating a single topic, or event. It is different because it goes beyond the usual dictionary or online definition of a word, or phrase.
As the name suggests, a definition essay is about defining a word or a phrase, but 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.
The term could be abstract, controversial, special in some way or a new word, your job is to define and analyze it through every possible angle and means.
Buckle up to practice how to write a definition essay and explore its structure.
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, or any other term or word that has 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.
It depends primarily on the writer’s view and idea, to present the idea. The terms in definition essay can be assessed, based on their exact meaning, direct or subjective analysis, or on the different connotations it may have.
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. What do you think, he does not have an Oxford at home? He does, my friend.
Understand his motive behind giving this essay. He wants to see how studious and detail oriented you are and how much hard work you put into your work. Don’t disappoint him. Don’t tell him what he already knows; spice things up by adding a new angle, perspective and viewpoint. Add the main meaning and expound why the word is used in such a manner, plus in other different manners.
In writing a definition essay, choosing the definition 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. Simple words usually have only one meaning, which is not enough for an essay and complex words will hardly have any details. In both cases, you are left with nothing, poor Tim. But don’t worry, you can reverse the situation by doing some research.
No one can guide you better than Thesaurus and Google. They are massive and each day, new words, terms and phrases are added to their database, which means they have what you want. If you don’t know where to start from, add a familiar word into Thesaurus’ search engine and see what options you get. Google new phrases, you will get tons of results and options to choose from.
There is a basic structure to consider and follow:
As we said before, do not just copy the definition from the dictionary, or even from an online resource, write it in your own words. Plagiarism is an offense, in every form. Stay away from it. Divide the main topic into subtopics, if applicable, and explain it both as a whole and through different sections.
Dividing the main topic will increase its scope and you will not bombard your reader with loads and loads of information. For instance, when writing about ‘love’, divide it into subcategories: platonic love, romantic love, love at first sight, love for family and friends etc. There could be many directions and implications.
Though it may appear as a piece of cake, definition essay can be tricky in many ways. Finding a befitting term and creating a whole essay on it, its challenging.
One of the best practices is to go with a complex word, to begin the essay, we know that we said that excessively complex words can ruin your chances, but a moderately complex word, or even a more complex word that has good data to work with, is not off limits.
When choosing a term or word for your essay, be sure of its meaning and if you are using it in the correct way. 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.
Example: 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 to explain its dimensions. On the other hand, a house is nothing more than a structure of bricks.
Do you want to accomplish good grades in your essay?
You are not going to get it if you do what everyone else is doing. Choosing the same kinds of words and phrases will not do the trick.
To be distinct, search a distinct term for your essay and 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, it is a good indicator that you 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.
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.
Nearly every word has more than single meanings, academic and circumstantial, that apply as per the situation.
Before moving towards adding and explaining your own implications of a word, learn its meaning from an academic point of view.
Etymology of the word is instrumental for a definition essay.
You’ll never ace your definition essay without paying heed to the origins of the chosen word.
The historic background of the word can give you dispense remarkable insights of its birth, evolution and transformation into the present form.
Remember to revise a few rules before you embark on writing the definition essay.
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 professionals is starting the introduction with a catchy or intriguing idea, 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.
As with other kinds of essays, a definition essay outline is necessary for a successful planning of the essay.
An outline is the short draft of the essay, used to highlight its main theme.
Some professors make it obligatory for the students to create an outline in the start of the essay.
A usual definition essay outline has:
Excellent outlines result in excellent essays, especially if you are writing something as tightly knitted as a definition essay. Note down important quotes that would strengthen the soul of the essay and leave an impression on the reader.
The thesis statement is the combination of the actual meaning of the term and personal opinion.
Don’t write heavily, or add too much of information, in this section.
Save the information for the body paragraphs.
Present a nuanced definition, established from research and personal views.
While writing a definition essay, pay maximum attention to body paragraphs.
You may create three or more body paragraphs. It relies on your professor’s requirements and complexity of the topic.
Give the reader a broader investigation of the topic.
Never miss out on origins and history.
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. Offer something new and exciting.
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.
Break the body paragraphs as per follows:
Still thinking about how an ideal definition essay should look like? Below are some definition essay examples to give you a better understanding of the topic.
Definition essay has the same format as that of any other essay. It has an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. However, the way content is presented, is different and unlike an argumentative or any other kind of essay. Definition essay is a mix of research, critical analysis and subjectivity.
Do you find it difficult to explain a complex term to a layman?
A good technique is finding a similar term and referring to it, to make the reader understand the meaning clearly.
Not many people would have heard the word “confrere”.
Its primary definition is ‘a fellow member of the profession or fraternity.’ You can compare confrere with a colleague, an affiliate, or a cohort, as it shares a similar concept and meaning with them.
Describe the term in its traditional meaning or physical characteristics.
Example: “Home” is visualized physically as an apartment or house. In abstract details, home is cozy, warm and a safe environment.
Include all these concepts when defining home, along with its different perspectives.
People have a strong inclination towards vivid images and pictures.
A befitting story can prove handy to clarify an abstract or concrete concept.
Example: Your task is to write on “kindness”. Write about an act of kindness you witnessed recently to add energy and viridity into your definition essay.
You may be asked to write on a term which is often misunderstood. Definition essay topics are vast and if your professor likes to keep things in his hands, you may get a word or term that is often used in a single sense but have multiple meanings.
Example: Courage is associated with the lack of fear. However, one can argue that courage is persevering despite fear.
Never attempt to write an elaborate summary, or add new information in it. Conclusion is the closing of an essay, not an opportunity to open new arguments.
The topic sentence of each body paragraph is a fine method to make a list of key points.
You may also conclude the essay by referring to images or phrases evoked in the introduction.
Mention how defining the term changed your thoughts about it. Many times, we think that words have the same meaning and implications as we know it. However, actually, there could be multiple meanings of a single term or word.
Share your experience and how working on the respective term helped you exploring its new meanings and significance.
The topic is of great importance in the essay. It is the essence and heart and soul of your work and should be treated like one.
Choose an interesting and scalable topic that has ground for expansion. Some interesting ideas that could make great essay topics are:
Cherry pick the topic and feel free to consult a seasoned essay writer to get the essay done.
Learned the art of how to write a definition essay? Ready to start with your essay? Great. Consider the following points while composing your essay.
Writing a definition essay is quite an enlightening experience. When you research different meanings, you learn many new things about the word and ways to use it in different contexts and situations.
If you are still not sure that you can compose an impressive definition essay, MyPerfectWords is here to help and assist you. Talk to us and work with one of our expert essay writers. You will get a perfect essay while you can sit back and relax!
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