How to Write a Definition Essay

Are you tasked with writing a definition essay? We have put together a guide article. See more here:

A definition essay is a type of essay that requires you to define a word, concept, or idea. However, simply providing a dictionary definition is not enough. Your goal should be to provide a clear and concise definition that will give your reader a deep understanding of the term. 

To do this, you will need to consider the history, usage, and examples of the term you are defining. You will also need to use your own experiences and examples to illustrate your points. By taking the time to define your term carefully, you can ensure that your definition essay is both informative and engaging.

This article outlines a proper guide to achieving an outstanding “definition essay.” This includes understanding a definition essay, how to write one, the format and structure you need to adopt, and examples of definition essays.

These are six steps you need to adopt to understand how to write a definition essay:

  1. Select a topic area (what word comes to mind? Look it up and create possible topics).
  2. Write the meanings of these words.
  3. Further research by finding articles or resources that define or describe your topic.
  4. You might interview individuals that could give their points of view on the topic.
  5. You can get more content direction and opinions by doing a social media question tag.
  6. Put all these together and analyze, look for correlation, batch them, and you have a foundation to build a flow for your definition essay.


What Is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay is a type of essay where you must define a particular term in your own words. This can be a physical object or a concept. A definition essay explains the meaning of a term and how it can be used.

It gives an in-depth analysis of the term, its use, and where it can be found. A definition essay should always be written positively and include examples to help readers understand the term.

The first step in definition essay writing is to choose a word that has a complex meaning. This will give you room to be detailed and broad in your explanation. Writing an interesting and informative essay is easier if you choose something complex.

Second, do your research. You will need to look up the definition of the word or phrase in a dictionary and find examples of how it is used in literature or other media. 

Finally, when you write your essay, start with a clear and concise definition of the term or phrase. You can provide examples and explanations of how the term is used. 

You can achieve an excellent definition essay in 3 simple steps: 

  • Step 1: Engage your audience in what term is being written on
  • Step 2: Make the content of your essay concise and easy to digest.
  • Step 3: Site relatable examples and references to your audience.

Definition Essay Structure

Structuring your definition essay begins with selecting a topic. 

You must choose a specific definition essay topic to get the best out of your definition essay. Here are five options you can select from:

  • Define the concept of Marriage.
  • Define the term “Culture.”
  • How do you define “Success?”
  • Explain what “Dating” means.
  • Define the term “Confidentiality.”

Now that you have decided on a topic or term to write your essay prepare your definition essay outline. A definition essay outline will typically follow a standard five-paragraph structure with an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Definition Essay Introduction: In the introduction, you will need to introduce the term and explain why it is worthy of a definition. In addition, you will need to briefly mention the term's history and how it has been used over the years.

Definition essay body: Each body paragraph will focus on one aspect of the definition. You will need to provide a more in-depth definition of the term and discuss any controversy or debate surrounding the term. For example, if you define love, you could discuss what love is, what love is not, and how love is expressed.

Definition Essay Conclusion: The conclusion summarizes your definition and links it back to the introduction.

Following this structure, you will create a well-crafted definition essay that covers all aspects of your chosen term or concept.

Definition Essay Format.

A definition essay follows a standard format in which the selected term is defined and analyzed throughout the essay. 

It usually includes an introduction, a thesis statement, the main body, and a conclusion. Typically, it has the same flow as a general essay, but a few things are different. 

Let us break down each definition essay format more simply. 

Definition Essay: Introduction 

This is the first paragraph of your essay. It can begin with a quote or an open-ended question. The introduction should include a clear sentence that states the main idea of your essay, the principal argument, or the points to be discussed. 

Definition Essay: Body/Paragraphs

Each essay paragraph should focus on a single term or concept and be fully developed with supporting detail. There are several ways to define a term in a definition essay. It could be:

  • Definition by analysis
  • Definition by structure
  • Definition by function
  • Definition by misconceptions
  • Definition by origin and causes
  • Defining the result, effects, and uses

Whichever definition format you choose, ensure you use many examples to explain your definition to your audience. Use examples they can easily relate to, and avoid out-of-context examples to aid your audience’s understanding.

Definition Essay: Conclusion

Summarize your essay statement and highlight an attention grabber by including a “call to action” as a question or statement. Recap and emphasize your main points as well.

Definition Essay Writing Tips.

Definition essay writing requires a high level of expertise. An outstanding definition essay demands extensive research on the term, concept, or word you plan to define. Writing your definition essay aims to express your knowledge of the term or subject to your readers understandably. The following tips will guide you in writing an outstanding definition essay.

  • Start by researching your term: Provide your audience with an unbiased outlook. For a more authentic and engaging essay, check multiple sources and read up on references related to your term.
  • Start with a decent list of sources or references: It is essential to not “quote” or “over reference” your sources to avoid plagiarism.
  • Avoid duplicating definitions: Do not copy definitions word for word, even if you use the dictionary or any other source. Instead, paraphrase properly to convey your idea or thoughts.
  • Check the required structure: Although you may be familiar with the structure, double-check it and stay informed of any recent changes.
  • Proofread and edit properly: This helps you watch for grammatical errors or repetition. Proper proofreading and editing improve the grade on your essay as it is error-free and easy to read.

Definition Essay Examples.

A practical definition essay example will effectively guide you in writing yours. To write an excellent definition essay, you must choose your topic correctly.

Below is an example of a definition essay.

What Is Democracy?

Democracy is a form of government in which the people have the power to choose their leaders and make decisions about their country. It is a government system based on the principle of majority rule. This means that the government is elected by the people and is accountable to them.

There are different types of democracy, but all democracies have certain features in common. These features include the right to vote, freedom of speech and assembly, and the rule of law.

Democracy is not a perfect system, but it is the most just and fair form of government. It is a system that gives everyone a say in how their country is run. It is a system that protects the rights of minorities and gives everyone an equal chance to participate in the political process.

Democracy is the best form of government because it is based on the people's will. It is a government for the people, by the people. This means that the government exists to serve the people, not the other way around.

The people elect the government of a democracy. This means that the government is accountable to the people. The government cannot make decisions without the consent of the people.

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