Outline On How To Write A Definition Essay

Writing a definition essay

A definition essay is an essay concentrated on the explanation of the meaning of a definite term. The term may be analyzed from the position of one and only meaning and also from the position of subjectivity of the person defining the term.  This classification divides the words into two groups:

  • material terms – a table, a door, a printer.
  • spiritual terms – friendship, love, honor, pride.

 How to write a definition essay?

A good definition essay is required to have a strong thesis statement in which the point of view of the author on a certain term is revealed. Ordinarily, the term is given the general basic definition implying that the dictionary definitions must be only a start for the author’s unique definition of the term. In order to make a definition essay professionally it is necessary to find a definition of the term that corresponds to the opinion of the author. The definition is always given in own words and specifies what meaning of the term is to be analyzed.

Definition essay Outline

Three Tips for an effective definition essay

  • The readers should be told the defined term.
  • The presented information should be basic and clear.
  • It is necessary to use a wide range of examples to make sure the reader understand the point of view of the author.

Three gold rules for writing a good definition essay

  • “When” and “where should not be used in a good definition. A noun is defined through a noun, a verb through a verb, ect.
  • The definition should never copy the dictionary definition but is supposed to be unique reflection of the author’s opinion.
  • The best way to explain the definition is to use simple language.

Structure: definition essay format

The basic structure of a definitions essay consists of the thesis statement, examples to reveal the term from the necessary side and the author’s final restatement.

  • Definition is presented
  • It is analyzed by:


  • The meanings which are not considered by the author are specified.
  • The definition is supported with various examples.
  • The structure of the essay language must be appealing to the reader.

Definition Essay Examples

A vast collection of Definition essay samples is presented in our database.  Each Definition essay example provided by our custom essay writing service is absolutely free.

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Definition Essay Topics

Definition essays can be written on many different topics which base on comparison of two or more subjects, theories, personalities, events etc. Delicate approach to the choice of a topic or keen understanding of the one topic is the key element of good essay writing. If you hesitate either on choosing the essay topic or the idea for Definition essay please feel free to contact us and we gladly help you any time you need assistance.

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How to Write a Definition Essay

A definition essay is a paper that explains something. The topic can be concrete objects such as mice, stars, or airplanes. The definition essay can also be about abstract concepts like honor, justice, or love. In choosing a topic for a definition essay, it is best to create some limits by choosing something specific. If the topic is too general, a short essay will not encompass the definition accurately. For example, an essay on airplanes would be better suited as jet airplanes or commercial airliners. Justice could be limited to family justice or the justice system of the USA. 

Beginning the Definition Essay

After a specific topic is chosen, it is necessary to conduct research. At least three reputable sources are needed such as encyclopedia articles or books on the subject. Once the author of the essay feels confident in understanding the subject, it is necessary to form a thesis statement. The thesis statement introduces the topic, provides a very brief definition, such as that found in a dictionary, and can also provide a reason why the subject is being defined in the essay. Once a solid thesis is written, an outline should be compiled with all of the facts to be included in the essay. 

Structure of the Definition Essay

The outline with the facts of the topic should roughly follow the parts of the essay. After the thesis statement, there is the body of the essay that gives basic information about the topic with examples to support the information. Contrasting ideas can also be included, depending on how the subject is to be defined. Finally, after the body of the essay, is the conclusion. In the conclusion, the topic and succinct definition is restated along with the key points of the body. A basic definition essay will have at least five paragraphs. The introduction and conclusion will be one paragraph each and the body should have three paragraphs, each covering a different aspect of the topic or a different form of definition. 

Format of a Strong Definition

There are several different methods for creating a strong definition of a term. The definition essay can focus on one method or it can incorporate multiple methods to help the explanation. One of the ways to define a term is through its function. Explaining what something does or how it works is often all that is needed to define many terms, especially objects. Next, a term can be defined by its structure. Explain how the subject is organized or the different parts of the subject. Defining by structure can also include how the object is built. A third way to define the topic is by analysis. Good and bad examples of the term can be included in analysis. The term must also be compared and contrasted to similar things or concepts. Using the jet airplane example from above, a comparative analysis can show the difference between jet airplanes engines and propeller airplane engines. The jet airplane can also be compared to helicopters, balloons, or even cars in how it is used as a mode of transportation. Another way to define the topic is by explaining what it is not. Opposites or similar concepts can be used to help the reader more fully understand the thesis. 

Tips for an Effective Definition Essay

A definition essay, essentially, must be easy to understand so by the end, the reader knows just as well as the author, the definition of the subject. The facts should be clear and basic at first, and then they can be more specific. If facts cannot adequately define the subject, sometimes a short story or anecdote helps. Every fact should also be supported by an example.

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