What is a Definition Essay?
A definition essay explains what a specific term means. Some terms have very clear definitions, like flower or a tree, however a more interesting essay will discuss what a more abstract term means, such as defining words, like patience or love.
What makes a good Definition essay?
Word choice is very important. Choosing a word that has a clear definition makes for a boring essay, and it wouldn’t leave you with much to say.
Therefore make sure you choose a word that is defined by one’s opinion or point of view and not a dictionary. Think of it as defining a concept more than defining an individual word.
It should be a concept someone else should be able to disagree with or have another opinion about.
This should really be an opinion essay. Someone else should be able to argue another point of view. In other words it should be objective, and you should get deep into your point of view as to make your essay more interesting.
Write about something you know…or understand.
Because this is an opinion piece about a concept, make sure it’s something that you know about. It should also be something that you have an opinion about.
You should feel comfortable stating your opinion on this topic and should have real life example that you can contribute.
Do the research
Even though, you don’t want to repeat the dictionary’s definition of the word, you do want to know what the dictionary says. The dictionary definition is a great way to start your essay. You may also want to research the origin of the word.
Back up what you’re saying
While this essay will have a strong dose of opinion and personal point of view, it’s important that it also has some examples, facts would be great too.
Personal examples are always great, because the reader can relate to them. Facts from studies, or other scientific examples are also a great way to add credibility to what you are saying.
Structuring Your Essay
Make sure the introduction includes the topic sentence or a thesis statement. This is your opportunity to tell the reader what this essay will be about.
This is often a good time to state what the definition of the word is, and it’s origin if you plan on including that. Make sure your introduction clearly states what this essay will be about and where you stand,
Typically these essays have 2 to 3 body paragraphs. How many body paragraphs you have will depend on how many ideas you plan to convey, or on the requirements of your essay.
This is the time for you to introduce your point of view or opinion about the topic. There are two very important things to remember when writing your body paragraphs. First, there should only be one thought or concept per a paragraph.
This should appear at the beginning of the paragraph, within the first or second sentence. Second, after you state your opinion, thought, or point of view, now you want to give examples or facts to backup what you are saying.
That is what the rest of your paragraph should be about. Just to recap, you want to state your point of view at the beginning, and then spend the rest of the paragraph backing up what you said.
This should just be a summary of your main points. It does not need to be long. You can tie everything together by going back to something that you mentioned in the introduction.
You can also use the topic sentences of each of the body paragraphs and create a through line and sum everything up. You may also want to bring up how you have been personally affected, if you haven’t already mentioned that.
If there is a throughline, or something that connects all of your points, then this is a perfect place to mention it.
Here are some topics that can be used to write about for a definition essay.
- Social media
- Endangered Animals
- Human Rights