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How to Write a Definition Essay


If you like mulling over complex ideas or thinking about whether some notions make sense, then definition essay writing will help you to express yourself. This is your chance to show your ingenuity, your virile mind, and your analytical skills. Now, you may be thinking that it is hard to gather all your thoughts and express them for the paper. Or, on contrary, you simply have no idea what to do. Keep calm. In this article, we’ll tell you what to write and how to write it.

Q: What are definition essays?

This type of an essay implies giving an original explanation to some notion. You are not supposed to rewrite another’s thought. The purpose is to give your own definition of the term and explain your point of view. Then, you need to illustrate your definition with facts and examples.
Unlike the argumentative essay, you don’t prove the existing thought with strong evidence. Of course, you are allowed to combine some points of view, and on their basis, invent a new one. However, in that case, remember that the part with your original ideas should be a bigger focus than the part with borrowed ideas.

A definition essay is similar to an expository essay, in that:

  • You may express your opinion.
  • Persuading people is not your target.

Q: How should I start my definition essay outline?

  • Look for traditional definitions and an example of the use of the term. For example, you are investigating the term ‘love.’ Hypothetically, scientist ‘N’ explains that love is a reaction in the brain, and scientist ‘Z’ defines it as a disease. So, you may write the title of the first paragraph in this way: ‘Love as a brain reaction.’
  • Express your definition. You don’t need to write a definition. You should only mention the main characteristics. One paragraph should contain one characteristic. For example, you give this definition: ‘Love is a special connection between two people that suddenly appears.’ Of course, it is not a real definition; its purpose is to demonstrate the scheme.
  • So, you have: ‘special connection,’ ‘between two people,’ and ‘suddenly appears.’ You aim is to reveal every one of these word expressions. The reader doesn’t necessarily understand what you mean by saying ‘special,’ or doesn’t agree that it is ‘between two people.’ Nevertheless, it is not an argumentative essay where you are to persuade the audience, but still you must find the reflection of your thoughts in real life.
  • Organize your ideas. Make a list with the names of every paragraph.

What does a definition essay look like? Move to the next question and find out.

Q: What does a definition essay consist of?


  • Give the traditional definition. Before you express your view, you need to give the socially recognized version. Use dictionaries and specified books to achieve this. You may give more than one definition. Try to choose the most contrasting definition to your understanding of some notion. If your definition is exactly the same or very similar to the existing one, it may be counted as plagiarism. Just think. Is it interesting to read the text when you know every word? Surprise the readers with your original and unique point of view.
  • Provide background information. It is often appropriate to tell the origin of the term. Mention the author, and the way the meaning changes throughout the ages.


  • Give your interpretation of some term. Your definition will look more scientific if you follow this scheme: term ‘N’ + is/’–‘ + noun (What is it? – regime/social phenomenon/disease etc.) + defining characteristics (What does it do? What is it like?).
  • Exclude constructions, such as ‘it is when.’ Of course, an essay doesn’t require as strict scientific formulation as a research paper, but it shouldn’t be written in a completely informal way either.
  • Select the shades of your definition. Divide it into parts and reveal every point more thoroughly.
  • Give the examples of the use of this term.
  • Include facts and arguments.


  • Sum up your thoughts and ideas.
  • Talk about the influence of this term in your life.

Q: How should a definition essay be organized?

You instructor should give you the settings for writing an essay. If for some reason he or she doesn’t, you can use one of the most popular: APA Style format.

  • Font – 12 pt, Times New Roman
  • Margins – 1-inch
  • Spacing – double-spaced
  • Indenting – the first line of each paragraph 1/2″
  • Section Headings – centered and in boldface type. Capitalize all words except articles, conjunctions and prepositions.

Q:What are definition essay topics?

Hallmarks of a good topic:

  • The notion is abstract.
  • It is a debatable term.
  • It has a possible contrasting interpretation.
  • It has a noticeable influence on people’s lives.
  • The term is well-known to you.

Hallmarks of a bad topic:

  • It is too broad.
  • It affects only a small group of people.
  • It is unfamiliar to you.
  • It is unfamiliar to the majority of your acquaintances.

How Else Can We Help You?

So now, definition essay writing should not be something mysterious and frightening to you. And if you need support with any paper, we can offer it to you. Visit our online resource – WriteMyEssayOnline.com. Our qualified writers can make a template for your task if you don’t know how to start. All of the assignments are written personally for you. You can convince yourself by using a free plagiarism checker. Our service provides you with 100% confidentiality and security. You don’t need to pay the whole sum in advance. We offer the ability to make payments in parts (after you are completely satisfied with the paper). So stop procrastinating, and visit us right now!

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