How to write definition essay? Here is some good news for the students around the world. There is nothing difficult about writing an academic definition essay. As you can guess from its name, it’s about explaining a particular word or phrase. However, it is not enough to provide the meaning.
No matter whether you have to make a paper on the specific nouns like “bread” or “grass,” or more abstract terms such as “sympathy” or “honor,” it is important to complete a full essay with its regular structure:
It’s up to the student to decide on the writing technique. He can choose individual voice. An effective definition essay can be:
- Based on one term
- Based on full phrase
- Broad (all interpretations included)
- Narrow (one description involved)
An example of broad definition would be:
Humans are two-legged mammals.
An example of narrow meaning is:
Humans are religious creatures.
A broad type contains issues that are not referents of the concept. It is different when it comes to narrow descriptions. Historical research is critical to collect diverse meanings.
It is important to make sure that you obey the accepted guideline and useful prompts. Free online paper examples are useful too.
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How to Write a Definition Essay: General Rules
It is possible to explain the term using real life examples. Another way is to make a story based on your own life experience. Professional examples help to understand the item better. If you work in some organization, share the professional application of target word.
Write the definition essay in both official and personal manner. It should combine dictionary meaning and personal reflection. You are allowed to write down supporting essay elements. (See point 3 below)
In short, follow three easy steps:
- Let a reader know your topic
- Include abstract with clear, background information
- Add jokes, quotes, shocking facts, rumors, personal feelings, and another memorabilia.
If you enjoy writing the essay, the audience will love it too.
Effective Definition Advice
Writing an effective definition requires avoiding typical mistakes:
“A widespread error is selecting a word which has too broad meaning. Narrow it down to make it simpler to identify. Pay attention to the word’s origin and history. If we take “crush,” it is important to point to its Nordic roots. It means multiple definitions are available. Make a list of existing meanings in your paper. A person may have a crush on another person. Godzilla is crushing everything around. Still, make an original definition example. Think about how this particular word has impacted your life. Readers love observing vivid and unique examples given by the writers.”
Taylor Summers, Professional Academic Writer
Approaches Used to Define Particular Term
Except for watching the definition of the selected word on the site of Merriam-Webster or another online dictionary, you should add other valuable information. The different ways to explain the meaning of your term make the topic more understandable.
- Analysis: Before you write, divide the subject into sections. Explain how many types of friendship or love exist. Include the definition of the romantic, platonic, parental, and immortal love. What makes particular term stand out from the rest?
- Comparison: The writer contrasts some subjects. An essay may appear more lucid to the readers. An example may be comparing two political regimes, music genres, religions, etc. Such process is a part of analysis approach. It helps to identify item’s unique features.
- Structure: Explain the way something is organized/joined.
- Details: Not only physical traits and internal features are great for defining the term. To make the meaning of your word clear, it is good to add conceptual background and traditional views on the matter.
- Negation: People sometimes understand things better if you include the wrong definitions in your essay too. You may stress that Hinduism has nothing to do with Christianity. Start writing about the differences between the two religions. A good idea is to begin essay this way.
- Examples and Anecdotes: A smart and witty writer always adds samples and jokes. It is especially helpful when an abstract concept has to be defined. E.g. if you have to write about the definition of “accountability,” highlight this term with the help of some good real-life story.
- Origins and Causes: Sections refers to history. It is important to include the word’s background in the structure of your definition paper. Trying to define “light,” you may recall the history and origins of how the initial lamp was invented. Note: To learn more information on the essay’s structure, read this blog carefully.
- Outcomes, effects, and causes: Words and phrases like “Gender Discrimination” or “Poverty” cannot be fully defined without explaining the consequences that they have for the humanity. Such terms as “Cataclysm” and “pollution” lack poignancy. Mention their effects and causes.
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Know These Recommended Steps Before Writing Definition Paper
Now, it is time to pay attention to five steps that may help you to write the definition essay better.
The basic steps in the process of writing a good definition essay include:
- Conduct a research to select a word.
- Searching the meaning in the official dictionary.
- Asking people around what they think is the best definition of the term.
- Look how the term is defined in cinema, press, literature, and social media to gather many good definitions.
- Look at the gathered information. Analyze different meanings of the word.
- Grabbing audience’s attention with a powerful hook.
- Developing effective thesis statement the way you do for any other academic project. In this sentence, determine the target word as well as provide a short explanation.
Although you should use your imagination, do not ignore important sources that will help you explain the meaning of any chosen word or term:
- Dictionary definitions
- Personal interviews
- Social media questionnaire
- YouTube videos
Consider two basic types of definition essays. They are argumentative and narrative papers.
- Argumentative essay definition (tries to prove the given interpretation is the only correct and acceptable)
- Narrative essay definition (writer includes a story to create an image in reader’s mind with details, plots, and characters)
Definition Essay Mistakes
Top Selected Definition Essay Topics
Here are some of the best topic ideas for your future definition essay:
- Human body
- Excellent weekend
- Global warming
- True love
- A real problem
- Personal crisis
- Having a Rest
- American Dream
- Good Music
You may counsel professional academic writers to get more definition essay topics ideas.
Follow This Definition Essay Outline
Have a look at these simple instructions before writing your definition essay:
- Work on your topic idea. Find a really cool word.
- Find what the term means in the official dictionaries. Write them down in your own words to avoid plagiarism.
- Use various articles and videos to help to define and explain the chosen word.
- Write down some possible interview questions.
- To better understand the concept, interview people around to find out how they define the topic. Get people of different ages, areas of specialization, titles, and with different life experiences.
- Social media may help to gather more information if you post the questions/answers online.
- Have you worked with each source individually? Grab the best meanings the sources offer. Separate all responses in groups/categories before writing the final version of your definition essay.
Ways You May Use to Analyze Sources
- Get ready to write the essay on love or any other selected word by observing the gathered information. From the first interview to the last article, analyze the meanings and put a number on each separate definition. Divide definitions into the official ones, those offered by people, and your own thoughts. Choose the most commonly met meaning. It would be the best definition ever.
- Develop a numbered list of all definitions from various sources. Write the names of people who shared their thoughts.
- To explain the word properly, analyze all results repetitively.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated about explaining the meanings of different words. You can purchase affordable online help with any sort of academic essays online. There are many writers online who offer their services. We recommend turning to the time-tested website which delivers all orders on time without much expenses from the customer’s side.
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Step Two: In your conclusion paragraph, try one or more of the following techniques:
Technique #1: Explore the consequences.
Address the negative consequences by asking: What happens if we don’t learn the lesson of the thesis? What has been (or what will be) the negative impact?
Address the positive consequences by asking: What can we do learn from the thesis, and what positive benefit will be gained if we do employ it?
Technique #2: Raise a counter-argument, then debunk it.
Bring up a point someone might make against your college essay. Then say why that person is wrong.
Tip #1: Make sure you’re using a counter-argument that you can debunk!
Tip #2: Be careful not to contradict or disprove your original thesis.
Technique #3: Provide a Call to Action.
Ask: What must we do as a result of this thesis/lesson?
Technique #4: Raise an Unexpected Value
Ask: What else may we learn or gain a result of this thesis/lesson?
Tip: this one works well within a "Not only... but also..." construct.
Sounding kinda’ vague? Keep reading.
Remember the key is to:
Clarify the thesis.
Answer “So what?”
Here's an example thesis and some possible directions for the conclusion:
Thesis: Children should be taught the value of other cultures and religions from a very young age.
Negative Consequences: What might happen if children aren’t taught the value of other cultures and religions?
Positive Consequences: What might happen if they are?
Counter-argument—debunked: What might someone argue as a barrier/potential downside to teaching children about the importance of other cultures’ values and religions? (Example counter-arguments: Children might lose sight of their own values/religions (or) they may be uncomfortable at first… both are easy to debunk.)
Call to Action: If we believe children should be taught about other cultures and religions from a young age, what must we do? Either individually or as a society?
Unexpected Value: What else might we (as Americans, as humans) gain from this?
For an example of how a really awesome writer did this in Time magazine, read Jeffrey Sachs’s one-page article Class System of Catastrophe.
Take note of the:
Call to Action
Check out my annotated version of this article here.
To re-cap: first clarify your thesis. Then ask:
- What are the positive/negative consequences of this?
- What's a counter-argument I can debunk?
- What's a call to action--what must we do as a result?
- What's an unexpected value--something else we'll gain if we learn or employ the lesson of the thesis?
Got it? Email me with questions.