How to Write a Definition Essay

A definition essay is a kind of writing that describes or explains the meaning of a specific term. There are three main steps in writing an effective definition essay:

  • Identifying the necessary term.
  • Presenting clear original information of the term being defined.
  • Using factual examples that the essay readers will be able to comprehend and understand.

Identifying the term requires one to understand the concept extensively before giving an elaborate definition. It is recommended for you to get familiarized with the meaning in the dictionary, but don’t copy/paste its definition. It is better to describe and explain the term using your own words. Experts say that it is good to limit the number of words in your definition. For instance, defining some terms, one can write forever about a topic, such as starry night. Presenting clear original definition of a term is basically coming up with a thesis statement that identifies it and gives a short definition. Facts and examples considering the concept are described using simple language that the reader will be able to understand. In this section you should assert your vast understanding of the term.

Writing an effective definition essay requires one firstly to create a definition through one of the following ways: I) defining by function - describe or explain how something works by giving procedures followed; II) defining by structure – description of how something is put together or organized; III) defining by analysis - comparing the term to other constituents of the same class giving similarities and illustrating the differences; IV) you should specifically define what the term does, not what the term means. The distinction clarifies the definition, thus helping the reader to understand it better.

Secondly, use understandable common facts and examples by selecting those that fully explain the definition.

In conclusion, remember that a definition essay or writing explains the meaning of the term. Thus, it is wise to define the concept, presenting clear and basic data and use facts and examples to make it more understandable.

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