Further Develop Definition Essay

Author: Maurice B. Morey | Designation: Arts Paper Writing Service Supervisor | Date Published: 13, June 2010

A definition essay is an endeavor to explain the meaning of a particular word that can be tangible or intangible. A definition essay should not just try to copy the meaning from the dictionary or from similar sources online or offline. It demands the specific meaning from the point of view of the author. The definition essay can be developed on the basis of different usages of the word or a single usage of the particular term that needs to be defined. It is up to the author to decide which meaning of the term is to be analyzed. It is recommended to use simple language to explain the meaning of a particular word so that the reader understands the meaning of the term completely.


When writing a definition essay, one should be careful about the making the word clear to the reader in the beginning of the essay itself and the presented meaning should simple and understandable. An author must take the pain of exemplifying the meaning of the terms as many times as possible to make sure the reader understands the desired meaning of the term. In order to write a good definition essay one must do enough research on the origin of the word and should realize that the definition of the word has historical and cultural backgrounds and it can help one understand more about the meaning of the term. Sometimes the meaning of the word can vile or offensive, it must had been used for a better purpose or must have had a totally different meaning in the past. To develop a good definition essay you must use the meaning in the context of your thesis statement through which the word can act as a tool of meaning for a series of scenarios.

There could be two types of terms abstract and concrete. Abstract terms are intangible and can be difficult to limit to a single meaning. There could be many situations where an abstract word can be used and the meaning also changes. For example the word ‘love’ different meanings when considered in different relations like romance, motherhood, friendship, kinship and more. If you are about to write an essay using all these different contexts you will need to work harder and your essay will not be appealing to your readers. It would always be better to stick on to one meaning of the term and define its meaning completely using different examples and make sure your reader understand your point. On the other hand if it’s a concrete term, there would not be many meanings to decide on. For example if you use the word ‘door’, it has an internationally accepted meaning every where in the world, even though it is being used in different context other than its normal meaning of an entrance. When it’s a concrete term, the author is required to do research on the historical development of word and the definition essay can be simpler.

There are many tips on how to write a definition essay.


There are few things that you must include in the definition essay are the function, the structure and the analysis


When you develop the function of the essay, it is very important to identify and express how the word is used and what meaning it conveys in a particular context. In defining the structure one should explain how it is organized or bring it together. You can define the structure by providing examples which uses the word that you define to connect derive the exact meaning. In analysis one needs to analyze the word in comparison with the other similar words, and also should provide examples on how different the meanings are when different words are used in the same sentence.


When writing a definition essay one must be careful about not to use big words and complex meanings. You should compare the examples and choose the ones that provide the meaning that you wish your readers to understand. It would be great reading experience if you make your essay filled with interesting examples of different meanings in different contexts. You should also provide an introduction which delivers a clear picture on the definition that you are going to prove and a conclusion that strongly agrees to the introduction.


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Adefinition essay is a special type of assignment that simply explains the meaning of a certain term.  While some terms have specific and concrete definitions, such as tree or book, others are more abstract.  For example, terms such as honor, honesty, and love are all more abstract concepts that are a bit more difficult to explain, relying heavily on the writer's point-of-view.  

Both abstract and concrete terms can be explained in definition essays, though more abstract terms generally make for a more interesting read.  Regardless of the type of term being defined, there are three major steps that must be followed when completing a definition paper.

The first step when completing a definition essay is to simply tell the reader what you're planning to define.  Then, you present the basic definition of the term in a clear and simple manner.  Finally, you provide anecdotes, facts, and examples to help further clarify the definition of the term.

Perhaps one of the most difficult, yet most important, aspects of completing a definition essay is actually developing the definition that you'll be supporting throughout the document.  In order to come up with a definition, you must have a clear understanding of the term that's beyond the simple dictionary definition.  In fact, while you can use the dictionary as a reference, you shouldn't simply copy the definition that the dictionary provides.  Rather, you should explain the meaning of the word in your own terms.

When dealing with abstract concepts, you'll often need to limit the definition that you're planning to discuss.  For example, when writing about love, you could discuss romantic love, friendship love, parent-child love, first love, and more.  Attempting to cover all forms of love will be too broad for your document and, as such, you should settle on just one definition and then form your document around that definition.  

When developing your definition, you should define the function of the term being defined.  When defining the function, you should explain how it works or what it does.  You should also define the structure, which involves telling how it's organized or put together.  In addition, you should define by analysis.  When you define by analysis, you compare the term to similar terms and then describe how it's different from those other terms.  Finally, you define what the term is not, which can help to further clarify the meaning to the reader.  

When defining the term, you should strive to use facts that are easy to understand as well as anecdotes and examples.  When determining the examples you'll use, focus only on those that will best help your reader understand the term and those anecdotes that would be the most appealing to the reader, such as a short story.

Finally, be sure to create an interesting introduction and a solid conclusion that wraps up the entire paper.  The summary should leave the reader feeling as if he/she has learned something and gained a far greater understanding of the term that was defined.

Writing a Definition Essay

Definition essays are just one of the many different report types that students are likely to be assigned.  A definition essay is much like any other report except that it requires students to perform a specific task using a particular report format.

A definition essay is a writing assignment that requires students to fully define a term, concept, subject, or item.  Definition essays rarely ask students to define simple terms such as boat, dog, or coat, but rather more complicated concepts such as ethics, honesty, sadness, happiness, or family.  A definition essay assignment is somewhat like an exercise in philosophy and the concept or term being defined can have a different meaning for each student.

Students often find completing a definition essay somewhat difficult because the concepts they're assigned are often intentionally obtuse.  Instructors use definition essays not only as a test of a student's writing skills but as a test of their critical thinking skills, as well.  The trick to completing a satisfactory definition essay is to pinpoint the definition and write about it in a way that encapsulates the thoughts of the student.

For instance, a student could write about the concept of family for pages.  But, it might be far more difficult to limit the definition of the concept to a one-page definition paper.  It is important for students completing a definition essay to fine tune their definition and limit themselves to a concise definition of the term at hand.  

A good place to begin researching a definition essay is a dictionary.  Students can use a simple dictionary definition to introduce their own definition of the concept or term.  The remainder of the work can be used to expand on the dictionary definition.  Students should never rely solely on a dictionary definition as the basis of their definition paper.

Other good sources of information for a definition essay are encyclopedias and philosophy books.  The good thing about exploring multiple references is that the student gains not only a technical understanding of the subject of his/her definition essay but also gains a philosophical understanding of the concept or term.  Using a combination of the technical and the philosophical encourages students to think about a variety of concepts and terms in a variety of ways.

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