Basic Knowledge How To Write a Good Definition Essay

Good Definition Essay Writing

Definition essay writing can be a matter of hours, rather than days, if you know how to deal with the task. Difinition essay writing is an academic work, in which you define something. This is why the first step in writing will be choosing the topic or term you wish to define in your work. Whatever you choose, include a good introductory paragraph, in which you set out the context for your work and list briefly the contents of your paper.

How to Write a Good Definition Essay?

  • Do not limit yourself to dictionaries. Use as many resources as you can. Be ready to compare and analyze various definitions of your selected term. You can use the information you find in other sources to develop your own definition of the term. In any case, you must not forget to include the term you are defining in your introductory paragraph.
  • When you are done with the introduction, switch to writing the body paragraphs. This is where you will share the most valuable information with your readers. You may wish to include some case studies, which use the term of your choice. You may also want to point to any commonalities or differences you identify in different definitions from literature. Use as many examples as possible to illustrate your point.
  • Narrow down the meaning of your term. Do not make any generalizations. For example, if you choose to talk about love, narrow it down to 'love of animals'. This way, your definition essay will be much more focused and concise.
  • Include transitions between paragraphs to make your paper sound logical and structured.
  • Now think of how you yourself would define the term you have chosen. You can be creative and innovative in your definitions. This is what a definition essay is all about.
  • Avoid grammar mistakes. Check and proofread your paper before you submit it.
  • Do not say that the thing you are defining "is when" or "is where", etc.
  • Also, do not use the terms, which are too common and familiar to your reader.
  • Do not be too brief or too detailed. Meet the page and word limit set by your professor.
  • Do not repeat the term all over your paper. A definition essay is good only to the extent that creates a balanced picture of the selected word.
  • Do not be boring. Engage your reader and enjoy the result!

Definition Essay Examples: Effective Writing is Easy

So, it is time to get down to completing the assignments. Your task is to compose a definition essay; so, first of all you have to figure out what makes it special. In other words, you should clarify how to give a definition to the essay subject. Start with studying the definition essay examples and consider all the aspects not to make any mistakes. Brainstorm on the parts of the essay and proceed to writing a good outline to structure the essay beforehand. It will be easy for you to outline a definition essay, as you already know a typical structure of a five-paragraph academic text: introduction followed with the body paragraphs and a conclusion. A number of aspects to be defined determine the number of paragraphs in the body. Reading the professional advice on how to write a good definition essay, you will see that the main aim of this writing is to define a concept, idea or word.


The first paragraph of the essay is an eye-opener for the readers who understand the subject of the essay. This paragraph is used for gaining the readers' interest and introducing the main idea. Starting with a hook or an attention getter, the paragraph excites the readers' curiosity and motivated them to proceed with reading. Some interesting fact or a quote from an outstanding personality included is a great writing technique. Besides, the readers have to get full understanding of the idea or concept; so, they need plenty of background information in the paragraphs of the body.

A definition essay stands out among other types of academic essays, for example, cause and effect essay, descriptive essay, explanation essay, and so on. It implies giving the definition from the dictionary and then adding another definition in the thesis statement. If the word under analysis is complicated, dictionary definitions will be insufficient and too narrow. Thus, your definition given in the thesis is your chance to improve the dictionary option.


The body is made up of the paragraphs focused on various aspects. Each of them contributes to the general definition given to the discussed subject.

  • The History Paragraph

Reading through the advice on how to write a definition essay step by step, you will see that a typical definition essay comprises three paragraphs of the body. Nevertheless, if the writer believes that there is an urgent need in some extra paragraphs, it is fine. The first paragraph of the body is devoted to the analysis of the origin of the word. It observes how the word has been accepted in the language and presents the related root words, suffixes and prefixes in the word. The paragraph can also tell about the evolution of the word, if any.

  • The Paragraph of the Denotative Definition

The next paragraph of the body typically concentrates on the definition taken from the dictionary as well as the use of the word in conversations and writing. For instance, the word 'love' is an adjective, noun and verb as a part of speech.

  • The Paragraph of the Connotative Definition

The third paragraph of the body is frequently the longest one. It deals with the definition of the word given by the writer on the basis of both research and personal experience. It is fine to be daring in this part. Your definition can be different from all others given in books. Try to sound fresh and original. No matter what you define: an animal or a color, defend your point of view. Give plenty of relevant illustration and examples of the word and engage the readers in your essay.

Focus on the chosen definition essay topics and make your explanations bold and interesting. For instance, the word "quixotic" can be related to such adjectives as "idealistic", "magical", or "visionary". However, if you trace its relation with the word "optimistic", you will hint at the positive connotation and make the readers interested. For sure, the third paragraph of the body gives an insight into the writer's understanding of the term or idea.


The best definition essay examples demonstrate that it is the shortest part, but it is not less important. It is actually one of the most meaningful and memorable paragraphs; it reiterates all the stated key points. Clear paragraphs of the body lead to a clear conclusion! Just note: no repetitions!

Example of the Definition Essay Outline

There are a lot of definition essay examples, here you can have a look at the sample outline. The topic is "Love".

  1. Introduction

Thesis: The definition of love given in various cultures is different, but the majority of them agree that it is a broad positive concept needed by people.

  1. Body

Topic Sentence 1 - The approach of Chinese, Ancient Greek, and Persian cultures to love was different, but there were a lot of similar aspects as well.

Topic Sentence 2 - Love has seven noun and six verb denotative definitions, it being a sign of the complex nature this concept has.

Topic Sentence 3 - Love plays an important role in the society in interpersonal, intrapersonal, and business relationships.

  1. Conclusion

The effect of love on all aspects of human experience is enormous.

Definition Essay Sample

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