Definition essays can be hard to write for many students becausethis assignment requires them to write an academic and personaldefinition of a specific word. The definition that you give inthis paper must be lengthy and thorough, so you may need a goodexample of a definition essay. Be sure to pick the word that youcan have a lot to write about. There are different tactics thatcan be used to elaborate on the chosen terms. Keep in mind thefollowing guidelines to write the best definition paper.
Get a Better Idea of the Meaning of This Essay
A definition essay can be a bit tricky to write because you needto give formal and personal explanations of a specific term.You’ll fail if you choose the one that can be described only in afew words. Select a complex term with a significant origin andbackground in history. Look for complex words that readers caneasily relate to in different ways. The term that you chooseshould seem impossible to explain in a few sentences, so you needto write an essay about it to give its universal and accurateexplanation.
Basic Types of Definitions Used in This Assignment
- Classification. What classes does the chosen subject belongto?
- Analysis. The term should be broken into specific parts todefine each one individually.
- Details. What are characteristics and rare features thatdescribe the main idea of your paper?
- Comparison. Define unusual things by showing their contrastto something common or their likeness to it.
- Causes and origins. What is important background information?What is the origin of your theme? What is its history?
- Negation. State everything that isn’t in order to clear theground for anything else.
- Effects, results, and uses. Describe the uses and aftereffects of your subject.
Parts of Writing a Definition Essay
First, take a look at any matching example of a definition essayand choose the right word. It’s advisable to pick an abstractterm with its complex meaning. That’s because simple words thatrefer to concrete meanings won’t provide you with much to writeabout. Complex terms refer to abstract concepts, so they givemore material to be explored. In most cases, different nouns thatrefer to places, people, or things are too simple for thisacademic assignment. Look for the nouns that refer to any ideabecause they work better, just like many adjectives. Forinstance, the term house is quite simple, so essays written aboutit can seem dull. You should switch to something more abstract toplay around with your definition.
Other Effective Steps to Choose the Right Term
- Ensure that the term that you choose is disputable. Inaddition to being complex, it should refer to something thatmeans different things to people. Definition essays are a bitsubjective in their nature because they require students todefine and analyze words from their personal perspective. If theanswer that you give after analyzing the chosen word is the samethat other people give, your paper may lack enough depth.
- Select the terms that you’re familiar with. Dictionarydefinitions can tell you a lot, but you need to have a certainbase of experience or knowledge with the chosen concept becauseyou need to elaborate on it. For example, if you aren’t familiarwith the meaning of pedantic, your understanding of this term islimited. Without your previous understanding of the chosen word,you can’t be sure if the definition that you give is reallyfitting.
- Read dictionary definitions. Although you shouldn’t rely onlyon them when writing a definition essay, familiarizing yourselfwith official definitions allows you to compare your personalunderstanding with the academic one. That’s because your ownbeliefs and ideas about its meaning is quite likely to includemore information, but a basic dictionary concept can provide youwith a great starting point.
- Research the origins of your term. Look it up in etymologydictionaries because they can tell you the whole history behindthis word and provide you with a better insight on its generaldefinition and how it came to its modern meaning.
The Main Elements of Effective Definitions
- Write your analysis. Separate the chosen term into differentparts to define and analyze each one in a separate paragraph. Tosuccessfully analyze every portion of a word, use extra definingtechniques, including classification and negation, and check anexample of a definition essay. This writing tactic works only forthe words that contain many parts.
- Classify your term. Specify the parts of speech and classesthat the chosen word belongs to according to its standarddictionary definition. In most cases, this information is quitedry and basic, but it still can provide you with some helpfulcontext about how a given term is normally used.
- Compare unfamiliar terms to something very familiar. That’sbecause uncommon and unfamiliar concepts can be easily explainedthrough the ones that are more understandable and accessible toaverage people. There are some terms that people have never heardabout, so you need to compare them with similar and familiarconcepts when writing your definition essay.
- Provide standard details about the chosen term. Explain anytraditional thoughts and physical characteristics used todescribe it. Include all of these features in your definition ofwords.
- Use interesting and effective examples to illustrate themeaning of your word. Many people tend to relate to vivid imagesand stories, so you need to use fitting images and stories thatare linked to the chosen term. They should be used to clarify anyformless and abstract concept. As an example, if you write adefinition paper about kindness, describe the act of kindnessthat you’re witnessed personally. People who mow the lawns ofelderly neighbors can be used as great examples, just likesomeone who gives encouraging words when you feel down.
- Use negations to explain the meaning of your term. If it’soften misunderstood and misused, mentioning what your term is notcan be an efficient way to bring it into focus. Courage is one ofthe most common examples that describe this writing technique.This term is often associated with lacking any fear, but manypeople argue that it’s more about acting in spite of fears.
- Provide readers with enough background data. This is when theresearch done about the etymology of the chosen word will come inhandy. Explain where it’s originated and how it came to itsmodern meaning.
How to Structure Your Definition Essay
First, you need to introduce the standard definition of yourterm. State what it means clearly along with its dictionary ortraditional definition in the introduction. To get a clearer ideaof how to do that, check a matching example of a definitionessay. Once you open your paper with this dictionary definition,you create the right context and basic level of knowledge. Thisis what will let you elaborate and introduce your personaldefinition. This step is even more important when the traditionaldefinition of your chosen word varies from your personaldefinition in any notable way.
Defining Terms in a Thesis in Your Own Words
An actual thesis statement must define the chosen term in yourown words. Keep this definition as basic and brief as possiblebecause it will be elaborated in the main body of your essay.Avoid using any passive phrases because they may sound clunky.It’s also needed to avoid repeating any part of your defined termin a personal definition.
Separating Different Definition Parts into Paragraphs
Every method and tactic used to define the chosen term should beexplored in its separate essay paragraph. However, it’s notnecessary to use all possible ways of defining your word in onepaper. Use a range of methods to create a well-rounded and fullpicture of it. There are some writing techniques that work betterwith some terms, not with the rest.
Concluding with a Summary of Major Points
Briefly sum up all major points in the beginning of your essayconclusion. Your summary shouldn’t be quite elaborate, andchecking the topic sentences of all body paragraphs is aneffective way to form a detailed list of these points. It’s alsopossible to draw your definition essay to its close by referringto the images and phrases evoked in its introductory paragraph.
Mentioning How a Definition Affects You
If the chosen term that you need to define plays an importantrole in your personal experiences or life events, use finalconcluding remarks as a great place to mention it briefly. Relateyour personal experiences with the term that you define in athesis.