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Definition essay

The essay definition of this type of writing is that it explains the meaning of a term. There are terms that have definite and concrete meaning like a glass, book, or tree. Honesty, love, or honours are abstract, and their meaning depends more on a person’s perspective. When writing your definition essay, you are supposed to go beyond the obvious dictionary meaning of the word and explain the reasons why the word is referred as such in your essay. You can give the direct definition of a term, but that limits your essay to a mere clarification. You can develop the meaning of the term using that story and the reader will come inter the meaning of that term.
A definition essay can also start with an opposing interpretation of the term. You will state in your thesis statement how you define the term. Use the body of your essay to explain how you understand the term and back it up with an illustrative example.

Three steps of effective evaluation

  • Inform the reader about the term that is being defined
  • Present clarity through the provision of basic information
  • Use facts, examples, or anecdotes that the audience will easily

Choosing the right word

  • 1. Choose an abstract word that has a complex meaning
    When you choose a simple word that refers to a concrete meaning will not give you ample contents to write about. Go for the essay definition of a complex word that refers to an abstract concept providing more material s for you to examine. Nouns that refer to people, place or a thing are too narrow a for a definition essay. Go fir nouns that refer to an idea or work because they will give you more content. For instance, a simple essay on a simple noun like a house will be dull. Switch to something slightly more like home and play around with the definition. A home is a concept that comprises many elements. In comparison, a house is just a mere structure with little or nothing to write about.
  • 2. Ensure the word is disputable
    The word that you choose should not only be complex bit also can have different meanings to different people. One aspect you have to understand is that the essay definition is subjective and it requires one to analyse a word from your point of view.
  • 3. Choose a word that you are familiar with
    Dictionary definition can only give you so much. You have to elaborate on the word and as such, ensure that you have adequate knowledge or experience in the concept that you select. It is just among definition essay topics. For instance, if you are hearing the word ‘pedantic’ for the firm time, you will have a hard time writing about it because you have limited knowledge. Introduce yourself to the words that you are defining in your essay. However, without previous understanding, you will not know if the definition you provide is appropriate.
  • 4. Read the dictionary definition
    You will not be relying entirely on the dictionary for your essay definition. However, that does not mean you cannot familiarise yourself with the official definition of the word. It allows you to create a comparison between your understandings of the concept with the simplest academic explanation of the same word. For instance, the term ‘friend’ is defined as someone attaches to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. However, you won ideas or beliefs concerning ‘friend’ has the potential of going beyond the official definition. The official definition gives you ample ground to start.
  • 5. Research the origin of the word
    Feel free to look up the origin of the word you are defining. Oxford English Dictionary is a perfect start or any other etymology dictionary. These sources will provide the history of the word you are defining. They also give you further insight as to the general definition and the information concerning how the word is obtaining its meaning.

Types of definitions used in definition essays

  • Analysis
    This breaks the subject into parts and defines each part individually
  • Classification
    This identifies the class to which the subject belongs
  • Comparison
    Unusual things can be defined through demonstrating its likeness to the common or its contrast from it.
  • Details
    This identifies the characteristics and other distinct features describing an idea of the paper.
  • Negation
    You have to mention whatever that is not to clear the ground for what it is
  • Origin and causes
    This identifies the origin of a theme, the background information, and the history of that idea.
  • Results effects and uses
    It describes the after effects and uses of the subjects.

Writing your definition essay

When writing an essay definition, you should have an outline. However, the outline for your definition essay will vary in length depending on the term this you are describing. Some terms are logical whereas others are more or less easy to fathom. Some terms require in-depth research and analysis to enable the formulation of the accurate representation of its meaning. Irrespective of the term, one is dealing with, essay definition should be written in the classic introduction-body-conclusion essay format.

  • Introduction
    This is where you start informing the reads about what the paper is discussing. In a definition essay, your introduction should strive to give standard definitions of the term as well as providing thesis definition. Standard definition comes in the initial section of the introduction and is the dictionary version. This helps the readers to have a starting point concerning the terms to enable clarity and possible questions.
  • Thesis statement
    This is the complete version of the actual meaning of the term. It is a hybrid of the standard definition that mixes your personal experience and the style of explanation. You are not supposed to describe too much in this section and do not use passive phrases when defining your term
  • Body Paragraphs
    This is where you break down the term into core parts. Consider a very variation of the definition and its history and break it into organized sections. An example of a good body paragraph stricture will look like this:
    • Paragraph 1: history and origin
    • Paragraph 2: full dictionary explanation
    • Paragraph 3: personal definition created from experience
  • Conclusion
    You have to make your conclusion for the definition essay simple and straightforward. The idea is to summarise the main points of your argument. Rephrase major parts of the definition and ensure that you have e summed up everything that you intended to say. Mention of how the term has affected you. There is a given reason as to why a specific term has been picked, and part of that reason stems from personal experience. Explain how the term has affected your life and leave the reader with a sense of purpose. Be creative as you write this important part of your essay. You want to impress your instructor because of a good grade too. Make the definition essay purposeful.
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