Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Definition Essay - Guide for Writing an Essay

7 min read

Published on: Jun 2, 2019

Last updated on: Dec 19, 2022

Definition Essay

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A definition can be deceivingly difficult to write. These types of essays require you to define a specific word with the help of a personal yet dictionary definition. The definition should provide a thorough description of that specific word so that it becomes easily understandable for the reader.

Read the dictionary to choose a word that allows you to write plenty about it. In this guide, you’ll learn what is a definition essay and some standard tactics to write a good definition essay.

What is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay illustrates the definition of a word, a term, or a phrase. As the name suggests, it is about defining a word or a phrase or what a term stands for. It is about analyzing the term in detail through its different implications and meanings.

Some terms have literal meanings as pencil, chair, or table. They have a widely known and recognized meaning. Whereas, some are abstract terms i.e. success, love, and truth. These terms have contextual meanings that could be different for different people, communities, and can have multiple implications and perspectives.

A definition essay is written mostly to define and describe such words with abstract meanings. It gives an insight into the writer’s perception of the word and its meaning.

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How to Start a Definition Essay?

Consider the following things when you start writing an impressive essay.

  • Disputable Word

    Search for a distinct term for your essay. The best way to do it is to work with a controversial concept or term.

    Since you analyze the essay from a personal perspective, the essay becomes subjective. The ideas that you present in the essay will be yours, supported by the researched facts and claims.

  • Read the Dictionary Definition

    Once you have chosen the word, look for its dictionary definition. A dictionary definition is the main definition of a word, according to the academic standard.

  • Research the Origin

    The etymology of the word is instrumental for a definition essay. The historic background of the word can give you insights into its birth, evolution, and transformation into the present form.

How to Write a Definition Essay?

The definition essay should provide a detailed explanation of a term, concept, or word. The description should be supported by evidence and thoroughly researched.

There are some basic elements that should reflect through your essay:

  • Inform readers about the term being used
  • Present basic and clear information
  • Use examples, facts, or anecdotes to help your readers and your instructor to comprehend it better

Learn how to write a great essay by bellow given step by step procedure:

1. Choose the Topic

When choosing a term or topic for your essay, be sure of its meaning and usage. Creativity is good and highly encouraged, but implying opposite or wrong meanings is an entirely different thing.

Find and add different and unique meanings but make sure that they are correct. Add examples to highlight your point of view.

An essay written on the word house will be way too simple. It is likely to sound dull and boring. Meanwhile, the transition towards the word ‘home’ will up your game. Play around with this word. Since a home is a concept, there are many elements that you can highlight.

2. Create Definition Essay Outline

As with other kinds of essays, a definition essay outline is necessary for the successful planning of the essay..

A usual definition essay outline is as follow:

      • Introduction
        • a. Dictionary definition
        • b. Brief explanation
        • c. Thesis statement
      • Body Paragraphs
        • a. Other similar definitions
        • b. Detailed description
        • c. Examples, facts, or anecdotes
      • Conclusion
        • a. Restate the dictionary definition
        • b. Restate the thesis statement
        • c. Summarize the essay

3. Write the Introduction

The definition essay introduction must have these essential ingredients:

      • Begin with the conventional explanation of the term or the dictionary definition. If the term has multiple interpretations, pick the idea that is most commonly known and used.
      • Branch out and introduce other related and unrelated ideas and concepts to describe the topic in detail.
      • A common technique used by professional writers is starting the introduction with a catchy or intriguing idea.
      • A curious fact, famous quotation, shocking sentence, or surprising tactic comes in handy while writing a striking introduction.
      • Never overload your introduction with irrelevant and excessive content, keep it for other sections.
      • Keep the introduction clean, brief, and interesting.

4. Description in the Body Paragraphs

The reader is looking for your personal beliefs regarding the chosen word, or idea. They know the dictionary's meaning and are not looking to have the same meanings again. Define the term in a new and exciting way.

Make sure that you have an in-depth understanding of the topic before presenting your views.

Follow the following rules to craft coherent and excellent body paragraphs.

      • A paragraph comprises a single idea only.
      • If the chosen word has multiple meanings, discuss only the relevant meanings as much as possible.
      • Use examples and provide several points to support the core information.

Break the body paragraphs as follows:

      • Origin and history of the word.
      • Complete dictionary explanation with the usage of the word.
      • Personal and researched definitions established from multiple sources, implications, and perspectives.

5. Prepare the Conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of the overall essay, where you restate the thesis and highlight the main points. Don’t introduce new information at this point.

6. Proofread and Edit

After writing the rough draft, revise and edit the essay. Read your essay and check if you have included any irrelevant or common information that people are already familiar with.

While doing the revision, do the following things:

    • Remove any spelling and grammatical error
    • Correct the flow of the information
    • Correct the sentence structure
    • Ensure that the content of your essay is in a logical flow
    • Correct the punctuation errors

Many writers just add the dictionary meaning and do not research or study beyond it. But, only the dictionary definition is not sufficient for a complete definition essay. If the readers are looking for only a dictionary meaning, they could get it from the dictionary.

The actual motive of a definition essay is to fully explain the term according to your personal experience and understanding.

Definition Essay Examples

Check out the sample definition essays given below. They will help you write your definition essay.

Definition Essay Writing Tips

Learned the art of how to write a good definition essay? Ready to start with your essay?


Consider the following points while composing your essay.

  • Familiarize yourself with the chosen word, or term, before you get to the writing part.
  • A wide range of dictionaries exists in the world. Once you choose the word to add in your essay, properly reference the dictionary that you utilized.
  • Explain the origins of the word to make your essay informative, professional, and high scoring.
  • Offer multiple meanings and interpretations of the word. Later, pick the interpretation that resonates with your idea and adhere to it throughout the essay.
  • Compare and contrast technique is best to explore the in-depth meaning of the term.
  • With the passage of time, several words undergo changes in their meaning. Discuss what the word meant in the past and how it has evolved in recent times.
  • Highlight personal perspective on the chosen term. Don’t be afraid to state anything out of the box, as long as it sounds rational.

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Definition Essay Topics

In writing a definition essay, choosing and understanding the term is the key. The chosen word must give you room to write sufficiently. Some students choose excessively simple, or complex words, thinking that it would be easy for them to explain them.

Some interesting ideas and great definition essay topics are:

  • Perfect couple
  • Family
  • Buddhism
  • Strong leader
  • Racism
  • Happiness
  • Success
  • Business Women
  • Peer pressure
  • Communism
  • Modern art
  • E-commerce
  • Social media
  • NATO
  • Surrealism
  • Down whistling
  • Politics

Overly simple or complex words will not take you anywhere. The definition essay requires writing that explains and reveals the term that is otherwise unknown to people. Or people have a different perspective on something.

For the term "love" or "platonic love" everyone has their own meaning. So it can qualify as a definition essay topic. So, be very careful while selecting a topic for your definition essay.

Hire a Definition Essay Writer

Writing an extended definition essay is quite an enlightening experience. When you research different meanings, you learn many new ways to use them in different contexts and situations.

If you are still not sure that you can compose an impressive definition essay, is here to help you. Talk to us and work with our professional writer to get your custom essay written. You will get the top essay writing service at the most affordable prices.

Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

Cathy has been been working as an author on our platform for over five years now. She has a Masters degree in mass communication and is well-versed in the art of writing. Cathy is a professional who takes her work seriously and is widely appreciated by clients for her excellent writing skills.

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