What is a Definition Essay?
A definition essay works to provide the nitty-gritty details about a word or concept. For example, in an art class, you may be asked to write a definition essay on Vermillion (a vivid reddish-orange color) or Cubism, a specific approach to creating art. A definition essay should always focus on a complex subject; simple subjects won’t provide enough details to adequately write an essay. While the subject may change, the structure of an essay remains the same. All definition essays should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Types of Definition Essays
Professors often assign definition essays towards the beginning of a class. The focus of this type of essay is to explore a specific concept. These concepts are often divided into one of three categories:
In this type of essay, the assignment explores how to fully define a difficult topic. By definition, an abstract concept is one that is vast and complicated. Examples of abstract concepts include liberty, ambition, love, hate, generosity, and pride. The focus of the essay should be to break down the concept into more manageable parts for the audience.
Definition essays that focus on a place tend to explore a specific type of place and how you as the writer view this particular place. Types of places which may be assigned are a country, state, city, neighborhood, park, house, or a room. The place may be huge or small. A key to writing a good definition essay focused on the place is to select a specific place you are familiar with; it shouldn’t be a place you need to research — it should be a place that you know intimately.An Adjective
An adjective essay focuses on creating a definition for an adjective. Common topics may include describing a “good” or “bad” friend, present, or law. The focus of the essay should explore the qualities and characteristics of a good friend or a bad present.
Perfecting the Definition Essay Outline – and Beyond!
Before sitting down to write a definition essay, you’ll need to make out all the parts to the whole. In other words, how, exactly, will you define the subject of the essay? You’ll need to consider all the different parts, or the gears, that make the clock work. Once you’ve brainstormed the parts, you’re ready to create an outline, and then write some paragraphs. The outline for this essay is as easy as in five paragraph essay – it contains an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of body paragraphs is determined by how many aspects you’re subject needs defined. This type of essay is exactly what it sounds like: it works to define a specific word or concept.
Take Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s advice when writing: “Never say more than is necessary.”
So, here is what constitutes the outline of the definition essay:
An introduction paragraph should act as a gateway to the subject of the definition essay. Use this paragraph to gently introduce the subject, and gain the reader’s interest. This paragraph should begin with an attention getter (the “hook”) that makes the reader curious and want to read more. Quotations are always a great idea as are interesting facts. Next, provide background details that the reader will need to understand the concept or idea to be defined in the body paragraphs.
Unlike other papers, like cause and effect essay, the definition essay is unique in that it requires the writer to provide the dictionary definition of the word, and then the thesis definition. Since dictionary definitions are often dry and narrow, the thesis definition is your opportunity truly encompass the complexity of the word.
Each body paragraph should focus on a different aspect that contributes to the overall definition of the subject being discussed in the definition essay.
A definition essay typically contains three body paragraphs, although there can be more if the writer desires. The first body paragraph delves into the origin of the word and how it became mainstreamed into the language. This paragraph can talk about any root words, prefixes, and/or suffixes in the word, as well as the evolution of the word (if there is one).
- The Denotative Definition Paragraph
The second body paragraph should focus on the dictionary definition, and how the word can be used in writing and conversation. For example, love can appear as several different parts of speech; it can be a noun, verb, or adjective.
- The Connotative Definition Paragraph
The third body paragraph, and often the longest one, should focus on conveying the writer’s definition of the word. This definition should be based on both the writer’s personal experience as well as research. Don’t be afraid to be bold – describe this word in a way that no one else has! Be original; describe the word as a color or animal, and defend your choice. Provide examples of the word in action and maintain the reader’s engagement at all costs. Aim for sentences like this:
Quixotic describes the eternal quest of optimistic individuals striving to find the magical, the visionary, the idealistic experiences in life despite all obstacles and naysayers.
This exists as an excellent sentence because it provides clues as to the type of word quixotic is by pairing it with magical, visionary, and idealistic. By stating that it’s a word optimistic individuals would gravitate towards, the audience inherently understands it’s more positive than negative. Indeed, the third body paragraph should focus on communicating the writer’s comprehension of the concept, idea or term.
Just because this is the shortest paragraph, doesn’t mean that it will be the easiest to write. In fact, the better the body paragraphs are, the easier writing the conclusion paragraph will be. Why? Because a good conclusion paragraph reiterates the main points stated in each body paragraph. If the body paragraphs are clear and avoid rambling, pulling the main ideas for the conclusion will be easy! Just remember: you don’t want to repeat yourself word for word, but you do want to echo your main ideas; so summarize yourself instead of copy and pasting.
Many professors may create the definition essay as a personal writing assignment. If this is the case, then it would be appropriate to also discuss what the word or concept means personally to you. Select an example in your own life and validate your descriptions of the word.
“I need someone to write my essay!” – That’s something we hear a lot. The good news is that you are in the right place to find help. HandMadeWritings is the best essay writing service on the web.
Definition Essay Outline Example
Once you got the concept of your future essay wrapped up, it’s time to put things to the practice and create an outline. Here is what your outline might look like. Our topic is: Love.
- Introduction. Thesis: While different cultures define the concept of love differently, most cultures will agree that love exists as a positive, yet broad concept that has fueled humans since the dawn of time.
- Topic Sentence 1. While the Ancient Greeks, Chinese, and Persian cultures all approached love differently, they also shared many similar attitudes towards love.
- Topic Sentence 2. The denotative definition of love includes 7 noun definitions and 6 verb definitions; this highlights the complex nature of love as a concept.
- Topic Sentence 3. Modern society is fueled by the idea of love whether in intrapersonal, interpersonal, or business relationships.
- Conclusion. Love affects every aspect of the human experience and has since the beginning of time.
Definition Essay Sample
Be sure to check the sample essay, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to write your own argumentative essay. Link: Essay sample: Team Norms and Procedures.
Tips on Writing a Definition Essay from Our Experts
Need some advice from our professional writers? We’ve got you covered. Here are some great tips on how to write an A-level definition essay:
- When writing a definition essay, keep the sentences simple when you can; however, occasionally, you’ll need to create longer, more descriptive sentences. Consider juxtaposing short sentences with longer ones to maintain reader interest.
- Incorporate literary devices when trying to define an abstract word or concept. Check out this example: Love is a campfire on a chilly November evening. Its warmth glides over your entire being, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes – but watch out: get too close, and you’ll catch fire and burn.
- Stuck on deciding on a topic? If you get to select your own topic, remember that selecting an abstract topic is best: love, forgiveness, contentment, or hero are all great options. Don’t fall into the trap of selecting a topic with too many aspects to define such as the history of man.
- Select a topic that allows plenty of original description – that’s the goal: to describe a concept in such a way that hasn’t been done before. Be original: state the history and the original of the word and then delve into your perception of it.
- Finally, begin early. Create an outline to help organize your idea, and then begin the research process to determine the origin of the word as well its evolution. Consider answering such questions as who created the word (Did you know Shakespeare coined the words lonely and majestic?), how it has evolved, and whether it has multiple parts of speech. The more questions you answer, the more definition will be put into your essay!
Don't let the word love define your LOVE
Love is the most powerful emotion a human being can experience. The strange think is, that almost nobody knows what love is. Why is it so difficult to find love? That is easy to understand, if you know that the word "love" is not the same as one's feeling of love.
The word "love" is used and abused for the expression of different sets of feelings.
The word love is used as an expression of affection towards someone else (I love you) but it also expresses pleasure (I love chocolate). To make it a little more complicated, the word "love" also expresses a human virtue that is based on compassion, affection and kindness. This is a state of being, that has nothing to do, with something or someone outside yourself. This is the purest form of Love.
The ancient Greek used 7 words to define the different states of love:
Storge: natural affection, the love you share with your family.
Philia: the love that you have for friends.
Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love (positive or negative)
Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love
Ludus: this is playful love, like childish love or flirting.
Pragma: long standing love. The love in a married couple.
Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)
These are 7 different kind of feelings. The love you feel for your partner is not the same as the love you feel for your mother. Even the love for your partner changes in time. You feel different emotions for different situations and people.
But still, we use the same word. It is easy to understand that a confusion is easy made while communicating. I can say "I love you" to two different people (and mean it), but I am actually feeling in a different way.
This confusion is not only the case while 2 people are talking, your own brain does not get it.
What you feel is controlled by the right side of your brain and language is controlled by your left side. If you use the word "love" 10 times a day with different situations, it losses power. Your left part or your brain does not get fully activated when you really mean "I love you" and want to get exited about it. 50% of your brain is a lot.
The first thing that you need to do is learn the differences of the (7?) states of love. Not the words, but how they feel. It is easy if you recognize the words. It is basic training. Awareness, that is the secret to love.
Love is a practice, it is not something you find or don't find. You can practice love for the rest of your life.
Don't abuse the word love. Use other words where you are not addressing emotion towards other people.
Example: I love chocolate, becomes: I enjoy chocolate. I love my job, becomes: I have passion for what I do.
Enjoying, loving and passion are 3 different emotions. It is essential to learn (again) the true meaning of words, not merely to communicate with someone else, but also so learn to experience them. Words are very powerful instruments. Not only to communicate with others, but also with your self. The words you use, creates awareness and eventually your reality.
If you use words wisely, you can learn to recognize what kind of love you are feeling, and enjoy the different kinds of love. With one person of different ones.
If you don't know how to find love with in you, you will never find it outside you.
Words are agreements to express ideas or feelings. The meaning of words is not absolute, it is always a personal interpretation. The group of feelings associated with the word "love" is difficult to understand, and even more difficult to express to other person. Let put is this way: it is impossible with only one word.
With the creation of a word, you can give it a special meaning. Some lovers create words to express what they feel to each other. A word creates and agreement or memories. This moments can be repeated when you use that word or when you think about it.
In other languages exist words, related to love, that expresses different situations that don't have a translation to English. When you know this words, you recognize this feelings. You get more grip in what you are experiencing.
Beautiful words in other languages:
Yuanfen (Chinese): A love relationship that has been established by lot, based on principles of Chinese culture.
Mamihlapinatapei (Yaghan): A look that without words is shared by two people who want to initiate something, but neither start.
Cafuné (Brazilian Portugees): Slowly stroking your fingers through someone else's hair.
Retrouvailles (France): The happiness of seeing someone again after a long time.
La Douleur Exquise (France): The enormous pain in your heart when you desire someone you cannot have.
Ya'aburnee (Arabic): The hope that you will die earlier than the other, so you don't need to live without the other.
Forelsket (Nordic): The euphoria you feel when you fall in love for the first time.
Saudade (Portugees): The feeling of longing for someone you love, but is far away.
This "moments" are so important in other cultures that they have words to express them. My point is, don't use just one word to define your love. Learn this "words" and recognize them when you are living them.
With love, you get what you put in
Love is an emotion in action. You can learn how to feel and cultivate your love... First learn and know the different situations of love. Learn how to recognize them when you are feeling them. Then you go and share your love with others.
Love between 2 people can only begin if the interaction is based on truth, trust and respect. That is something you start giving. This is essential to grown mutual love between 2 individuals. If the other person gives you wat you give, then you start feeling love for each other and it can grow...
It is not difficult to understand love, once you know how love works.
It is very easy to fall in love with someone. The difficulty is to stay in love. But if it is difficult to stay in love, that means, that it is not the love of your life. It is a love experience. Love is always beautiful, if it is not beautiful, it is not love. Time to move on. Sometimes, love just fades away. It is better to move on when you don't feel anything, then when you feel the opposite of love.
Finding your loved one or a relationship...
If you want to find the love of your life, start being aware of your use of the word love. Saying and thinking I want to find the love of my life and not I want a relationship is fundamental. You find what you are looking for.
"Being in a relationship" is a marketing term invented in magazines. Everyone that is not single is in a relationship. To address a large group of people it is perfect, but it is to vague to define your personal situation.
The only important question for you should be: "Am I experiencing love or not?"
This is the first philosophy essay forming a series under the name: "Natural Philosophy" about the most important matters of life, trying to define a "Theory of everything". Continue reading here.
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