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What is a Definition Essay?

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A definition essay is exactly what its name entails. It is an explanation of a specific term expressed with detailed writing which causes it to be best described as an essay.

Three Major Steps in Writing an Effective Paper

1. Informing readers of what is being defined.

2. Presenting clear and basic information.

3. Including facts, examples, and anecdotal explanations readers can easily understand.

Choosing A Definition Term For An Essay

When  writing it is first necessary to understand what is actually being defined.  Then, with a thorough knowledge, you can decide the best approach to providing an explanation of a term or phrase which can be easily understood by readers. Use of a dictionary is invaluable in such writing, but a well-written definition essay by our writers encompasses far more than merely copying a dictionary entry. A properly constructed definition essay should be written in your own words and limited to varying degrees due to practicality. For example, a paper with “love” as its topic could easily become excessively long without ever clearly defining the word. This dictates the need for limiting the subject of definition in this instance to “platonic love,” “first love,” or another, more specified type of “love.”

Choosing A Thesis Statement

Writing a thesis statement is used as the basis and typically identifies what is being defined by providing a brief, basic definition. For example, when defining platonic, an appropriate thesis statement would be: “Platonic love is a type of love that is non-sexual in nature.” Such a thesis allows for expansion of this description in appropriately constructing what can be identified as a definition essay.

Writing Effectively

1. Choose an approach to define a term. Just a few approaches include choices to:

  • Define by function. This approach explains how something works or what it does.
  • Define by structure. This choice identifies how something is organized or put together.
  • Define by analysis. Compare the term being defined to other members of its class and then illustrate the differences. For example, defining the term “screwdriver” in this fashion could be done in-part by stating that: “A screwdriver is a tool requiring a certain degree of manual dexterity in most instances.”
  • Define by what the word does not mean. For example, it could be said that: “Unlike a hammer, a screwdriver is non-percussive by nature. That is to say, it is not a tool intended to pound, force, or strike other objects.”

2. Use understandable facts, examples, or anecdotes (short and amusing or interesting stories about a real incident or person). Select facts, examples, or anecdotes which fully explain your definition. Ask yourself, “Which examples will best help readers understand the term? Which examples would most appeal to my intended readers? Will a brief story reveal the term’s meaning?” Also, do not use any examples that will not support the definition.

Remember: An essay is written in a way that describes and explains what a term actually means. Popular topics include:

  1. Kindness
  2. Sense of Humor
  3. Love
  4. Charisma
  5. Team Player
  6. Optimism
  7. Beauty
  8. Respect
  9. Ambition

But no matter which subject you choose, the writing should be presented in a way that is clear and basic in regard to the definition stated. Also, you should be interested in the subject and familiar with it; keeping in mind that having personal experience is also a plus when writing.

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