How To Write A Definition Essay: Tips And Examples

A definition essay can be a challenge especially when at first approach it seems so simple. This type of essay requires one to write about one word which seems easy enough, until you try to apply personal opinion to academic principle. Here are some steps that should prove useful when writing a definitions essay, with some examples:

  1. Choose the right word
  2. When making your choice, it is wise to avoid ones with simple or specific meanings. Choose one that represents an idea or philosophy, for example, “parent” or “infinity”. These can inspire many opinions and discussions on the true meanings or what they mean to the individual. For instance, different cultures, or even species, view parenting differently. In the example of the concept of infinity, most people that understand the dictionary meaning, cant fully visualize it and so different ways of representing it are often expressed.

  3. State the context and differentiate it from possible alternate contextual uses.
  4. A good word can also be one that holds varying meanings based on the context in which it was used.

  5. Research the origins of your choice
  6. The origins of a word can provide you with lots of material to write on since they are often vastly different in today’s speech. Many English terms are in fact, slightly modified phrases from other languages.

  7. Analyze your choice thoroughly
  8. Many words exist as compound ones, either presently or in the past before we adapted it to our modern language structure. Breaking them down into their individual parts or even syllables can shed light on the reasons or origins of their creation.

  9. Discuss the dictionary meaning
  10. The dictionary may be bland and unimaginative, but it can be useful in shedding light on one very stable definition of the word that can then be compared to your personal or analytic version as stated in your paper.

  11. Use examples
  12. Examples are the best way of showing an idea or explaining a method or means. Use the word in a sentence to illustrate your desired meaning. “ Compared to snakes, birds are the best ‘parents’ in the animal kingdom.”

  13. Organize the different definitions into different sections
  14. In order to be clear about each definition or idea based on the chosen sentence ingredient, it is helpful to separate each one into a separate paragraphs. This way each piece can be analyzed easily by the reader.

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