What Is a Definition Essay?

This type of paper involves writing a formal explanation of one specific word. It is vital to note that this really is an essay, which means you almost certainly cannot choose a simple term that can be described in a couple of words.

A definition essay is meant to spell it out a complex term which has significant back ground and historical origin, and is a relatable term. The term “love” is a superb example of this type of term — as it is seemingly impossible to explain this idea very shortly. This gives us room to create a definition essay about any of it, which would give it a precise representation.

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Types of Definitions Commonly Used in Essays

Therefore , you have discovered an exciting term with a complex back ground worth delving into? Prior to deciding to make it the topic for your definition essay, think about what you can do with it.

Below are a few ways to approach your definition essay:

  • Analysis: Break the subject up into parts and define each element individually.
  • Classification: What classes does the issue belong to?
  • Comparison: Unusual things might be determined by showing how similar or different they are from usual things.
  • Details: Which are the characteristics along with other distinguishing features that describe the idea of the paper?
  • Negation: Explain what it is not, to narrow down what it is.
  • Origins and Causes: What's the origin of the theme? What is the backdrop information? What's the history of the idea?
  • Results, Effects, and Uses: Describe the after-effects and uses of the topic.

Interesting Topics

Since you understand what a definition essay is, it is time to choose your topic. It is important to consider an interesting topic that grabs your reader’s attention. Your intention is always to make the subject catchy, so your reader doesn't think of it as mundane, and will read on. We have some topics for you really to consider, which are grouped by general categories. Feel free to pick any of them and twist it around if you need to.

Definition Essay on Love

Love is the most wonderful feeling there is. Speaking about love, specially defining it, can be a very challenging task, so batten down the hatches and take a good look at these topics we suggest. Despite the complexity of the situation, a definition essay on love could be the most popular subject when it comes to defining terms in academic papers.

  • Compare Love and Hate. Which is the stronger emotion?
  • A universal definition of love: does it exist?
  • The connection between love and other emotions
  • Parental love
  • The correlation between love and passion

Happiness Definition Essay

Sooner or later, everyone within their lives feels happy. Whether it's just a short moment or perhaps a continuous feeling, it is referred to as a strong emotion that makes life worth living. A happiness definition essay is a good option to consider because it is familiar and relatable.

  • Defining happiness based on personal experience
  • The non-importance of money
  • What are the origins of the term “Parlay”?
  • How can happiness be achieved?
  • What is the opposite of happiness and why?

Family Definition Essay

In a family definition essay, you are able to either define some family values, its members, or other related things. It's a very versatile topic as it is relatable to any reader available. Make it sound personal and can include the family traditions and values you hold most dear, to have the expected result.

  • Perfect family traditions in American society
  • The 21st-century family and its values today
  • Pre-arranged and child marriages
  • Early parenting: pros and cons
  • Families with a single child
  • The impact of family on education & career choice
  • The role of television in family communication

Freedom Definition Essay

Freedom has many disguises: freedom of choice, freedom of speech, and free will. Within an essay about freedom you might be given the opportunity not only to define it, but also argue about having too much or too little of it, or even to discuss freedom in various settings and societies. A freedom definition essay is a popular assignment in US schools. You may combine history and culture to ensure success with this one.

  • Being free & being truly happy
  • Prisoners vision of freedom
  • Explaining the word "freedom" through slavery
  • The movement for freedom
  • The role of the American Civil War in formulating the term "freedom"
  • Reasons why people should not obtain full freedom

Easy Definition Essay Topics

If you are in doubt which topic to choose—because they all seem too complicated—refer to our set of easy topics. They enable you to talk about things you are very familiar with as a scholar; writing them will be a easy.

  • The features of a hero predicated on Pride and Prejudice characters
  • Describing success utilizing the example from the "Queen" story
  • What makes someone a Villain and why?
  • Campus vs. home conditions
  • The role of a college degree in a modern person’s life
  • Characterize an Antihero
  • Analyze the definition of Beauty.
  • What makes someone a Hero?

Extended Definition Essay Topics

In the extended definition essay topics, you ought to discuss words with broad meanings only. Avoid terms with just one interpretation. These topics permit you to have a very elaborate argument with a broad spectral range of ideas.

  • Measures of punishments parents try keep a wholesome family
  • Differences and similarities among self-assurance, self-development, & self-management
  • Traits that make a person generous
  • Items that prove the FBI violates the rights of US citizens
  • The meaning and usage of the term “frenemy”
  • Several factors that identify a person as selfish
  • Solutions to cope with laziness and the implications of it
  • Detecting protagonists’ faculties based on Marvel movies
  • What are the defining attributes of Royalty?

Definition Essay Ideas for Business

Majoring in Business? This is a wide range of essays that'll be easy and interesting for you yourself to write about. Even though it is not the case, economics, business, and e-commerce have plenty of interesting terms to describe. Some of the best some ideas include:

  • Causes & effects of an economic recession
  • The development of e-commerce
  • The role of statistics in business
  • How to define an appropriate salary
  • Things that social packages include
  • Production and producers
  • Business management & marketing
  • How to explain the meaning of a start-up
  • Types of marketing advertising

Definition Essay Ideas for Science & IT

Below are a few bonus definition topics linked to information technology & science. They could be useful if you want to discuss innovations and forecasts for the future.

  • The programming language of tomorrow
  • The World Wide Web / Internet
  • Operating systems (Mac, Windows, etc.)
  • Different types of telecommunication
  • Pros and cons of e-learning
  • Computer data & information
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Automated home systems

They are just some common examples of definition essay topics, questions which are commonly asked on tests, and coursework assignments. The target here is to choose the best essay topic, that as students, you feel preferred explaining and portraying.

For more topic ideas check our article «100 Definition Essay Topics to Impress»

Pre-writing Steps

1. Choosing a Proper Term

When selecting a topic, it is crucial to choose a word that isn't simple, and does not have a great precise definition. A word with a concrete meaning will not provide you with much room to write about. When your word has an abstract meaning, you are able to write a great deal about it. The terms that will not be properly used for a definition essay are nouns referring to an individual or a place. It is easy to define and describe them, but these topics do not have lots of potential.

✅Term "Writing"

  • Gives you more wiggle room
  • There are different ways to describe it
  • ⛔️Term "Pencil"

  • The term is too concrete
  • Has no deeper meaning to delve into
  • 2. The Word Should Be Multi-Dimensional

    Which means you need to decide on a word that has different meanings for different people. For instance , the word “love” has different feelings and associations for all. A definition essay can be quite a very subjective endeavour, because it allows a writer to showcase their particular interpretation on the matter. Even though, you should steer clear of the meaning that everyone else has of your subject, as it might only be confirming the feelings and familiarity with other people—presenting no new arguments.

    ✅Terms "Hello" or "Telephone"

  • It i possible to expand description of the terms.
  • Far better to pick a far more complex term for the beginning.
  • Words with double meanings are specially interesting to explore.
  • ⛔️Term "Desk"

  • Has no dimensionality to it
  • Can mean only couple of things
  • Has no deeper meaning
  • 3. Choose a Word That You Know Well

    Writing an essay on a word you frankly picked up from the dictionary is very difficult. You'll want personal experience related to it, or good knowledge of the phrase you are defining. It is always more straightforward to choose a word that you are knowledgeable about. This gives you leverage to help you to elaborate on the situation and show your credibility as an author.

    ✅Term "Intimacy"

  • Reveal a term that has a link with your life.
  • You could sound like do you know what you are speaing frankly about.
  • ⛔️Term "Thermodynamics"

  • You almost certainly picked up the term in your Physics class
  • The reader will not be able to relate to it
  • Almost certainly, you will sound too scientific and potentially boring
  • 4. Use the Word’s Background History

    The foundation, or etymology, of a word has some historical reason for being what it's. Make sure you familiarize your readers with that, as it features a very significant role in the word’s current usage. Explore the real history of the definition of using dictionaries, and online learning resources, to elaborate on the typical definition. Publish your findings in your definition paper.

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    Definition Essay Outline

    Every essay must be written in the classic Intro-Body-Conclusion format. According to the definition essay structure, the introduction should address the central question with a thesis statement.

    Your outline is just a draft for the actual paper, so it must be planned out extremely watchfully. You need to incorporate your main points and highlights as a building blocks for the paper. Your outline will aid you in creating a well-organized essay, and certainly will ensure its high quality.

    With respect to the term, nevertheless , the body of a definition Essay Outline can vary in length and may include most of the points produced by the writer. The conclusion should summarize most of the main a few ideas, and suggest possible future associations with the word.


    In a definition essay, The introduction has two goals. You must provide a standard, or the most common, explanation of the word. You can do so by looking for it in a dictionary, or simply on the net. If a word has multiple meanings, it really is wise to pick the one that suits your ideas probably the most and continue from that. As with any essay, you must have an “attention grabber” to make certain that your reader is interested and wanting to proceed reading your essay. It can be a famous quote, a tale, statistics, information, or simply a great fact about your term.

    Next, move to your thesis statement—while keeping the first meaning of the word in your mind. It is important to stay glued to this strategy not to confuse the reader, and also have a logical coherent flow to your paper.

    thesis statement

    Your thesis statement is just a part of the introduction. For a definition paper, the thesis is your version of what the term means. This can be a mixture of the standard explanation, your personal experiences, and your interpretation style. Keep it short; do not attempt to describe a lot of in this section. This really is where you transition to the body of the paper.

    Body paragraphs

    Often, there are three body paragraphs in a definition essay. We suggest you organize them these way:

    An example of a good body paragraph structure:

  • Body Paragraph 1: History and Origin
  • Human anatomy Paragraph 2: Full dictionary explanation and use.
  • Human body Paragraph 3: Personal definition created from experience.
  • Breakdown the term in to its core parts in the torso of your essay. Analyze the word from different angles and offer a relevant explanation. More than three paragraphs could be necessary, with regards to the nature of one's assignment.

    Even though, feel absolve to alter this format anyway that suits your word better, as, depending on the complexity of your word, you can add more paragraphs, or switch the order around.

    Bear in mind, that as a composer of a definition essay, you'll need to jot down most of the expansive definitions available to you to offer the reader the full variety of your term’s beauty and depth. It's your job to complete extensive research and completely understand it. You'll need to support your claims with examples, along with give your opinion and share the experiences you may have had.


    Keep the conclusion simple. The main goal here is to close out the main points of your argument. Rephrase your thesis, the main areas of the explanation, and sum up whatever you said within the body of your definition paper.

    The last thing that ought to be mentioned in your definition paper outline is how this term has impacted you. In the event that you were, for instance , writing about the thought of love, you are able to say that being in love, and expressing that love to another individual, made you more compassionate. It changed your character in an optimistic way and showed you new side of your self. Usually, before even writing an essay, there is a reason a specific word is picked, and the main reason is because of personal experience—in this case, falling in love.

    How to Write a Definition Essay: Video Guide

    Now, take a break from most of the reading and thinking, relax and watch our awesome video. It will provide you with useful methods for picking your topic and for writing an excellent definition essay. You should take notes to ensure you get whatever you can from the jawhorse.

    Post-Writing Tips

    Now, we would like to offer some tips about what to do once you are finished with your paper.

    • References. Select the most appropriate references and ensure you cite them in the format your professor wants. Failure to comply with these rules could put you at risk of being suspected of plagiarism, and lower your grade overall.
    • Proofread and Edit. Make sure to proofread your finished essay to make sure you will find no typing errors. Double-checking spelling and grammar can drastically boost your grade and give a wide berth to it from dropping to start with. Once you proofread the paper, you can make any changes which may improve your essay. Don’t forget to read your paper out loud—your ears can catch errors your eyes may well not.
    • Sources. Understand that sources define the quality of your essay. Never choose inappropriate sources, or sources that not seem to be academic. This makes you look unprofessional.
    • Research. Once you've selected credible and academic sources, ensure that their research was done properly. Usually do not rely solely on one dictionary, but choose many showing your words from different perspectives. Combining few good dictionaries gives a full picture of the term and cover a full selection of semantic meanings.
    • Quoting. It really is quite tempting to copy your definition word-by-word and cite it. Although, you need to refrain from this, as it can bore the reader from the beginning. In addition, it shows your inability to paraphrase and express concepts with your own words; it might decrease your grade.

    Definition Essay Examples

    Below are a few samples of definition paragraph examples for university. Pay attention to the structure of the papers. These definition essay examples could also be used as a definition essay template, if you want to have exactly the same structure and format for the paper.