How to Write a Definition Essay: The Complete Guide

You’ve got one more troublesome task and have no clue on how to cope with it? Don’t get bent out of shape about it! I’m always ready to give a hand and help you have a hassle-free college life! Today we won’t talk about narrative or persuasive essays; our focus will be definition ones. Completing such a task might be a bit tough for someone, but we’ll get the hang of it together! So, here we go!

What Is a Definition Essay

You know, when I heard that I had to craft this type of paper, the first thought that popped up in my head was, “Wow, that’s pretty easy!” But when something seems a piece of cake, rest assured you are in error! A definition essay is writing that explains what a definite concept or a particular word means. The main aim of such an assignment is not just to copy a definition from the dictionary but to make clear why the word is defined exactly in this way. You’ll come across terms with the precise meaning, such as a table, a student, or a cup. There are also abstract ones that mostly depend on an individual viewpoint, such as friendship, kindness, allegiance, devotion, etc. Such a definition essay tends to explore not only a common understanding of the word but the personal point of view.

What Are the Various Types of Definition Essays

When Brandon had to complete such an assignment the first time, he picked an easy term, if my memory serves me right, that was a word - King, so framing a definition was a piece of cake. You know, I’m a real risk-taker, so when I was assigned to complete a task like that, I picked the word with the broad definition in order to get more space for digging. If you want your essay to be winning and not like “everyone has”, I advise you to pick a tricky term worth a more in-depth examination.

So, if you dont want to pull an all-nighter, act like Brandon, and pick terms that have a definite meaning. Being familiar with the chosen words, you’ll fulfill the task in the blink of an eye. Feel like being ready to go the extra mile? Give preference to the extended topic discussing some terms representing abstract ideas. If you are a science student, don’t miss a chance to relate some science topics with the English class, just make sure you’ve picked the one you are passionate about.

You can define the selected terms by:

  • function, explaining how everything operates;
  • a structure, writing about the way something is put together or organized;
  • analysis, comparing the word with some other terms and defining similarities and sharp differences.

Definition Essay Structure

Learners know that any academic paper has a definite structure. You are the one who should put into words the main idea and lead your readers from the introductory part to the final one. I’ve written below a typical structure to guide you through the writing process that may seem to be a bit tricky for some learners.

Definition Essay Definition

The main purpose of this type of writing is to define a specific term. The one who writes such an assignment should pin down the meaning of a chosen term or define something abstract. When completing such a paper, keep in mind that people aren’t interested in reading the info they already know. What term is being defined? This is your choice but keep in mind that your goal is not only to make a word clear but to give newfound information enriching the knowledge of the readers.

Definition Essay Outline

Are you ready to jumpstart the writing process? The first step in writing a definition essay is to pick the term. You should not only clearly understand it but have access to numerous sources needed to conduct an extensive analysis. The next step is making an outline like when you complete compare and contrast or argumentative essays. Some of my friends usually skip this step, but I never do it. A detailed plan is a thing that won’t let you stray from the right path and will help you stay focused on significant elements. You may create a list of a scheme noting down the information you want to include in the paper. This skeleton will be of great use for sure, and you'll follow the structure with no pitfalls. The writing process will go smoothly!

The Introduction

This is a part of your writing that goes first. It introduces the readers to the term even if everybody knows it. You may start by just copying the definition from a reliable source, then make a thesis statement about the term in your own words. The task isn’t rocket science so, you’ll cope with it, I’m sure!

The Body

Like when crafting a cause and effect essay, the body is the longest part of an assignment where you have to use the information you’ve dug out about the term. Your writing will be more interesting and absorbing if you mention some anecdotes, cool examples, and relevant facts. Try to describe the term mentioning the etymology, similarities to other terms, and providing some facts. All these will help to get flawless writing.

The body should consist of several attractive paragraphs stuffed with relevant information and vivid images helping your readers to better understand the term.

I advise you to stick to such a flow - in the first paragraph, you speak about the history of the term, in the second one, you provide a definition from the reliable source, and in the final one, you give your own description of the term.

Right after the most voluminous part of your writing is ready, it’s time to move forward!

The Conclusion

Congrats! You are at the finish line! I bet you had a lot of doubts whether you would cope with the task before you started defining the term. You’ve done a lot, and it is time to wrap up everything written above. This part of your writing should be the shortest one. Two-three sentences will be enough. Avoid inserting new details, just sum up everything you’ve already said.

Step by Step Guide to Writing a Definition Essay

So, where to begin?

  • The first thing you should do is choose a word you are going to write about. As I’ve already told you, it is much better to pick a term with philosophical meaning. Making the wrong choice might play a dirty trick giving not so much content to fill the essay. Make sure the chosen term has a complicated meaning that is disputable.
  • Do thorough research. Look up several explanations of the term and check how it is usually used.
  • Craft an outline that will be of great use to everybody willing to masterly-complete an assignment.
  • Devote enough time to writing. This is a bad idea to do your assignments in haste. So, stay focused on writing about the term or an idea that is being defined.
  • Once it’s done, ask some of your friends or someone knowledgeable to proofread your paper. I always do so because there might be some hidden errors! You know, my Professor always spots even the slightest mistakes, so I give him no chance to lower my grade, asking Brandon to check the final result. I hope you have some sharp-eyed friends good at noticing typos and awkward language errors.
tips on writing a definition essay

Finding Examples of Definition Essays Online

I always browse for some samples online before fulfilling a definite writing task. So, I advise you do the same. There is a pile of online platforms where you’ll come across masterly-done samples that will be of great use when completing your paper. You’ll get to know not only about the up-to-date term and basic definition but will check the structure of the assignment you have to do. Having free access to useful information is a key to academic success!