Barbara P
Barbara P

Definition Essay - Writing Guide, Examples and Tips

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Published on: Oct 9, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

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A definition essay is a writing type that is often assigned to students for their academics. Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you will have to write this assignment professionally.

Like every other formal document, a definition essay follows a proper writing procedure and structure to be effective. This article is written to study that process and structure in detail.

Continue reading to learn the correct formation of a definition essay.

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What is a Definition Essay?

Just as the name suggests, a definition essay defines and explains a term or a concept. Unlike a narrative essay, the purpose of writing this essay is only to inform the readers.

Writing this essay type can be deceivingly tricky. Some terms, concepts, and objects have concrete definitions when explained. In contrast others are solely based on the writer’s understanding and point of view.

A definition essay requires a writer to use different approaches when discussing a term. These approaches are the following:

  • Denotation - It is when you provide a literal or academic definition of the term.
  • Connotation - It is when the writer provides an implied meaning or definition of the term.
  • Enumeration - For this approach, a list is employed to define a term or a concept.
  • Analogy - It is a technique in which something is defined by implementing a comparison.
  • Negation - It is when you define a term by stating what it is not.

A single or combination of approaches can be used in the essay. A definition essay presents a detailed and lengthy explanation to inform the audience effectively. If you are not assigned a topic for this essay, choose something that can be described comprehensively.

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How to Write a Definition Essay?

Writing a definition essay is simple if you know the correct procedure. This essay, like all the other formal pieces of documents, requires substantial planning and effective execution.

The following are the steps involved in writing a definition essay effectively:

  1. Select an Abstract Term

    Instead of choosing a term that has a concrete definition available, pick a complicated word. The complex expressions have abstract concepts that require a writer to explore deeper. Moreover, make sure that the term selected is perceived differently by different people.

  2. Identify the Dictionary Definition

    Once you have a word to draft your definition essay for, read the dictionary. These academic definitions are important as you can use them to compare your understanding with the official concept.

    Experts suggest not to finalize a term that you are not familiar with. Drafting a definition essay is about stating the dictionary meaning and your explanation of the concept. So the writer needs to have some information about the term.

    In addition to this, when exploring the term, make sure to check the term’s origin. The history of the word can make you discuss it in a better way.

  3. Choose a Topic

    Coming up with an exciting title for your essay is important. The essay topic will be the first thing that your readers will witness, so it should be catchy.

    Creatively draft an essay topic that reflects meaning. In addition to this, the usage of the term in the title should be correctly done. The readers should get an idea of what the essay is about and what to expect from the document.

  4. Gather Information

    Now that you have a topic in hand, it is time to gather some relevant information. A definition essay is more than a mere explanation of the term. It represents the writer’s perception of the chosen term and the topic.

    So having only personal knowledge will not be enough to defend your point. Deeply research and gather information consulting credible sources.

  5. Create an Outline

    The gathered information needs to be organized to be understandable. The raw data needs to be arranged to give a structure to the content. A definition essay can be written using the traditional essay outline in which the entire content is divided into three sections:

    1. Introduction
    2. Body paragraphs
    3. Conclusion

    The audience needs a clear and structured presentation of the information to stay focused and motivated. Moreover, an outline brings a flow in the text that smoothly takes the audience from the introduction to the conclusion.

  6. Write the First Draft

    Drafting each section correctly is a daunting task. Understanding what or what not to include in these sections requires a writer to choose wisely.

    The starting of your essay matters a lot. If it is on point and attractive, the readers will want to read the text. As the first part of the essay is the introduction, it is considered the first impression of your essay.

    To write your definition essay introduction effectively, include the following information:

    • Start your essay with a catchy hook statement that is related to the topic and the term chosen.
    • State the generally known definition of the term. If the word chosen has multiple interpretations, select the most common one.
    • Provide background information precisely. Determine the origin of the term and other relevant information.
    • Shed light on the other unconventional concepts and definitions related to the term.
    • Decide on the side or stance you want to pick in your essay and develop a thesis statement.

    After briefly introducing the topic, fully explain it in the body section. Provide all the details and evidence that will support the thesis statement. To draft this section professionally, add the following information:

    • A detailed explanation of the history of the term.
    • Analysis of the dictionary meaning and usage of the term.
    • A comparison and reflection of personal understanding and the researched data on the concept.

    Once all the details are shared, give closure to your discussion. The last paragraph of the definition essay is the conclusion. The writer sums up his conversation and provides an insight into the topic as a conclusion.

    The concluding paragraphs include the following material:

    • Summary of the important points.
    • Restated thesis statement.
    • A final verdict on the topic.
  7. Proofread and Edit

    Although the writing process ends with the concluding paragraph, there is an additional step. It is important to proofread the essay once you are done writing. Proofread and revise your document a couple of times to make sure everything is perfect.

    Before submitting your assignment, make edits, and fix all mistakes and errors.

Definition Essay Examples

It is important to go through some examples and samples before writing an essay. This is to understand the writing process and structure of the assigned task well.

Following are some definition essay examples to give our students a better idea of the concept.

Definition Essay Topics

Selecting the right topic is challenging for other essay types. However, picking a suitable theme for a definition essay is equally tricky yet important. Pick an interesting subject to ensure maximum readership.

If you are facing writer’s block, here is a list of some great definition essay topics for your help. Choose from the list below and draft a compelling essay.

  • The relationship between love and passion
  • The pursuit of happiness
  • The impact of family on personality
  • What are the different types of essays?
  • Advantages and disadvantages of using cell phones
  • The official language of a country
  • Racial discrimination in the US
  • Unfair elections vs. fair elections
  • Cheating in relationships
  • Different interpretations of being beautiful
  • Define the term love.
  • The objectives of the Feminist Movement
  • Traits that make a person kind
  • Elements of good mental health
  • What is platonic love?

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Definition Essay Writing Tips

Knowing the correct writing procedure is not enough if you are not aware of the essay’s small technicalities. To help students write a definition essay effortlessly, expert writers of have gathered some simple tips.

These easy tips will make your assignment writing phase easy.

  • Choose an exciting yet informative topic for your essay.
  • When selecting the word, concept, or term for your essay, make sure you have the knowledge.
  • When consulting a dictionary for the definition, provide proper referencing as there are many choices available.
  • To make the essay informative and credible, always provide the origin and history of the term.
  • Highlight different meanings and interpretations of the term.
  • Discuss the transitions and evolution in the meaning of the term in any.
  • Provide your perspective and point of view on the chosen term.

Following these tips will guarantee you better grades in your academics.

Drafting essays are that essential part of all academic levels that can not be avoided. The only way to achieve better grades is to draft these essays correctly.

Not every student has tremendous writing skills to write the assignments effectively. If you are an amateur and want to score good grades, it is advised to get professional help. is an essay writing service that assists students in all their academic assignments. Be it a college essay of any type or a complex research paper, the expert writers will guide you efficiently.

To hire a qualified writer today, place your order now.

Barbara P


Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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