This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use. A formal definition is based upon a concise, logical pattern that includes as much information as it can within a minimum amount of space. The primary reason to include definitions in your writing is to avoid misunderstanding with your audience.
A formal definition consists of three parts:. Although these examples should illustrate the manner in which the three parts work together, they are not the most realistic cases. When these definitions are discussed according to their roles in different contexts, it is called a definition essay.
A definition is just a simple statement about a term, but a definition essay is a discussion of several definitions of the same term. The reason is that happiness as defined by our culture has become just a synonym for pleasure, and anyone can feel pleasure. A good meal, a winning team, a fabulous vacation can make even the biggest criminal feel just as happy as the most noble hero.
The problem is the linkage between happiness and pleasure. Feeling good has no natural connection to doing good. For all these people, happiness is linked to goodness, not pleasure. This paragraph defines what happiness is. Although it is not a complete definition essay, it is part of a definition essay. Just check how happiness is defined and elaborated in different ways. Family members use magnets to fasten newspaper clippings about your bowling team on the refrigerator door.
They save your drawings and homemade pottery. They like to hear stories about when you were young. Whether or not, they are biologically related to each other, the people who do these things are family. This is an example of how definitions are further elaborated in a definition essay. From the family living unit, familial relationships stretch out to immediate neighbors, down the block, around the corner, and to all parts of barrio.
The feeling of family, rare and treasurable sentiment, pervades and accounts for the inability of the people to leave. The barrio is this attitude manifested on the countenances of the people, on the faces of their homes, and in the gaiety of their gardens.
Use five sections for the essay. A typical definition essay will have five sections: an introduction, three body sections, and a conclusion. Ask your instructor if they require you to have one paragraph per section or if they are okay with you having as many paragraphs as you need per section.
Your thesis statement should appear in the introduction and conclusion section of your essay. Introduce the term and the standard definition. Begin the essay by telling the reader the term you are defining. Then, provide the standard definition, using the dictionary and encyclopedias as references. Include a thesis statement with your own definition. Include this in the first section of the essay. Your thesis statement should describe your version of the what the term means. Mix in your personal experiences and your other research to create the definition.
Keep the thesis statement one sentence long and use the active voice. Discuss the history and origin of the word. In the second section of the essay, talk about where the word originated. Note the root of the word and how it came into use. Use your research, particularly your notes from encyclopedias and academic articles, as evidence.
It is commonly used concept in politics, in the legal system, and in philosophy. Analyze the dictionary definition of the word. In the third section, do a deep analysis of the dictionary definition of the term. Pull the definition apart and look at each word in the definition. Interpret and rephrase the definition so you can explore its deeper meanings. Compare and contrast the term with other terms. Compare the word to other words that are similar in meaning.
Discuss how the word is similar and how it is different. Discuss your personal definition. In the fourth section of the essay, you should include your perspective on the term as well as the perspectives of others. Describe the word based on your own personal experiences, such as a memory from childhood or an experience at school. Support your points with evidence and references. Include quotes from your sources to back up your claims. Use quotes from articles, journals, and online resources. You can also include quotes from interviews you conducted to get personal definitions of the word.
Conclude by restating your main points. Wrap up the essay in the last section by briefly restating the standard definition of the word. Then, restate your thesis statement so the reader is reminded of your personal definition of the word. Make sure the conclusion discusses only points you have made in the essay and does not introduce any new ideas or thoughts. Include a last sentence that has a strong image or that describes a key phrase in your essay.
Part 4 of Read the essay out loud. Once you have completed a draft of the essay, read it aloud and listen to how it sounds on the page. Make sure each sentence flows well and that each section is well developed. Underline any awkward lines or phrases so you can revise them. You should also check for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors in the essay. Show the essay to others for feedback. Get friends, peers, and family members to read the essay.
Ask them if your definition of the word is clear and easy to follow. Pose questions about whether your points seem well supported and well developed in the essay. Be open to constructive criticism from others and take their feedback to heart. It will only make your essay better.
Revise the essay. Once you have gotten feedback on the essay, take the time to revise it for clarity and flow. Remove any sentences that are redundant or unclear. Make sure all your references and sources are properly cited.
If there is a word count or a page count for the definition essay, make sure you meet it. Include a reference page at the end of the essay and a cover page at the beginning of the essay, if required. If you are writing a definition essay for a school assignment, you may or may not be allowed to use first person narration.
Ask the teacher if it is allowed for your class or not. If this essay is not for school, using first person can be quite helpful in providing personal examples to create the definition. Not Helpful 0 Helpful Make the title interesting, and connect it to a theme or important concept in the essay. Not Helpful 11 Helpful A definition or definitional essay is an essay written about a chosen word of your choice, its meaning to you, and how you use the word.
You can argue your definition over the dictionary definition as well. Not Helpful 7 Helpful If the information is from reliable sources, the more, the better. Not Helpful 6 Helpful Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. Submit a Tip All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Related wikiHows How to. How to. More References 8. About This Article. Co-authored by:.
Co-authors: Updated: July 2, Categories: Essays. Article Summary X To write a definition essay, choose a word that describes a concept or idea. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read , times. This helped me to have a direction to go with for a definition essay. Highlight the keywords in the instruction i. Pick a topic for your essay carefully as it is the first thing that the reader is going to see. Search for the popular words through the encyclopedia, or in the news.
Search for the words that are unique and unused, words that make you and your audience laugh. Avoid picking up simple or common words that are used frequently and people are already familiar with it. Choose a word or a term that has an abstract meaning so that you can easily write a complete essay on it.
Extended definition essay topics can make a great definition essay.. After deciding the topic, find credible and relevant information about it. The first thing that you need to do is find the dictionary meaning of the term. List all the literal meanings associated with the term. After that, check out the quotations from reference books to and definitions made by famous peoples.
Asks experts to find where the term is frequently used and what different meanings are associated with it. A definition essay outline follows the same traditional 5 paragraph essay outline format as other types of essays do. Insert your information in the outline that you have found while doing research. Organize your research to identify the details that you want to add in your essay.
The definition essay introduction section is the first time the reader is exposed to the topic of your essay. That means it should be highly informative and interesting enough that compels the reader to read the complete essay. It should include the following components:. Remember that the definition essay does not include a complex thesis statement as of argumentative essay or any other essay. But the definition essay thesis statement is just a strong statement that has a neutral look.
The traditional 5 paragraph essay has 3 body paragraphs that mean you can investigate three main points related to the topic. Each paragraph investigates only one point and presents its supporting details. Therefore it can have as little as one paragraph, and if required more paragraphs can be added. Remember that you are not writing a narrative essay, where you just have to narrate the story. In a definition essay, you have to explain the term in-depth to make it easily understandable for the reader.
The conclusion paragraph is the final section where you have to summarize the details. To organize the conclusion paragraph follow these steps:. Make sure you provide enough information that the term becomes easily understandable for the reader. Creating an outline before writing an essay helps in definition essay layout.
Here are some definition essay outline examples for your help. Check them out. All types of academic writing require time and passion, so make sure you have both. We understand that it is hard to find motivation when you lack creative writing or essay writing skills.
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Definition Essay Topics. Exclusive access to the MyPerfectWords. You'll get weekly tips and tricks for improving your own writing and for achieving academic success through your writing. We are U. This is all that we do. Register Login. Paper Due? That's Our Job! Learn More.
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|Water for elephants book review||Retrieved 22 November — via Gallica. Authority control. Definition Essay. Ask yourself, "Which examples will best help readers understand the term? The awkward case of 'his or her'. In England, during the Age of Enlightenmentessays were a favored tool of polemicists definitions essay aimed at convincing readers of their position; they also featured heavily in the rise of periodical literatureas seen in the works of Joseph AddisonRichard Steele and Samuel Johnson. Specify what classes and parts of speech a word belongs to according to a standard dictionary definition.|