How to Write a Definition Essay

It is not difficult to write a definition essay. In this type of academic writing, you need to define a certain term. This term can be material, such as “Water” or “Earth,” or abstract, such as “Friendship” or “Courage.” The topic of a definition essay is usually broad and, therefore, it’s totally up to the writer to choose the approach to it. For example, the writer may pick a humorous or serious approach and be either general or specific. Consider our guidelines to writing a definition essay and get a high grade for it!

Definition Essay Writing Guidelines

  • Know your term. You need to know what your term actually means and be able to explain it to the reader. Don’t only use the dictionary definition. Use your own words and add a personal touch to your essay.
  • Give understandable information. Don’t include any unclear and hazy details in your essay. Also, avoid abstract rambling. Make your essay comprehensible and readable.
  • Add personality. You may include some personal information into your essay. Develop your own style to make it memorable.
  • Define the term properly. It’s not only about using Webster’s dictionary. Use the following methods to make your topic more understandable:
      Analysis: Separate your term into several parts or types and describe them separately. For instance, if you’re writing about the notion of love, talk about different types of love – platonic, romantic, unrequited love, etc.
      Comparison: Compare your subject to other things. For example, if your term is communism, compare it to socialism and capitalism. It can help to make the notion clearer.
      Negation: In the beginning of your essay, you may say what your subject is not. For example, if you’re writing about Hinduism, say that it is not Christianity. Then start contrasting the two religions and enumerate their differences.
      Details: Give different attributes to your term, add some conceptual background and include traditional thoughts about the term. It can help you make it easier for the understand.
      Examples: If your task is to explain a very abstract notion, you can do it by giving specific examples to make it clearer. So, take a step out of the theory. For instance, when you need to define the concept of truth, you may tell a story about a truthful person who has made an enormous impact on the society.
      Origins and causes: Talking about the topic’s background can also be helpful. Reveal origins and causes of the appearance of your notion.
      Results and effects: Say, you are writing on such urgent social topics as “Poverty”, “Racism”, “Pollution,” etc. In this case, you may discuss their effects on the people and the planet. It will be a very powerful essay.