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How to Write Definition Essay

Updated: Feb 12, 2016
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Most people would probably agree on the definition of a tangible, concrete object like a pen, an airplane and an animal.


But abstract terms (like “intelligence,” “affection” and “pain”) mean different things to different people, since their various experiences and even thoughts have molded their understanding of what a word means.


The Definition Essay deals with the student defining a word, term or concept subjectively – in which they are sort of offering their personal, extended definition of it according to his or her own experiences, preconceived notions and opinions.


Through writing the essay, a student provides their own commentary on a relatively ambiguous term, one that is abstract like “happiness” and “love.” Abstract notions may be rather confusing. Order an essay and our highly qualified writers will put their efforts into preparing a paper that will meet all the requirements and standards.   


Personal in nature, the Definition Essay’s topic is selected based on the student’s need to explain to others what it means to them – and quite possibly other people around the world. For example, a student may feel that the word “affection” applies to both physical and verbal actions, while others may believe affection is only physical.



See also:


Sample Definition Essay

Definition Essay Topics



In a sense, the Definition Essay is the student’s argument for how a term may be best universally defined and therefore applied. The Definition Essay generally illustrates how different experiences construct the student-writer’s interpretation of a term’s definition; this becomes the argument they student will be defending and upholding throughout the essay, which then becomes its central theme – or their essay’s Thesis.


Steps to Writing a Definition Essay



1. Choose a Term, Concept or Word to Define at Length


Long before the writing stage of a Definition Essay assignment, the student should first chose a term, a word or concept they feel should be defined differently. It will be an abstract term like “fear,” “anger,” or “freedom,” one the student may be passionate about or excited to expound on.


2. Craft a Thesis Statement


Once the student has determined the focus of their Definition Essay (once they have chosen a word they feel needs further defining), they must craft a Thesis Statement through which they directly state their point of view, often in just one very direct sentence. It should be expressed in a confident, assertive tone – “The word ‘marriage’ should be redefined so that it can be best understood to incorporate same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex couples.”



3. Brainstorm; Create an Outline


Here, the student should do their best to create an outline they can follow to write the first draft of their Definition Essay. It helps the writing of their essay come much more easily. The outline needs to map out the five crucial paragraphs of the essay, which will be making a case for how the term being highlighted should be best defined. The outline needs an introduction, followed by three body paragraphs, each declaring the points supporting the argument – and each with additional evidence to strengthen these points. Ending with a conclusion paragraph, the Definition Essay should conclude by tying the paper together, in turn cementing their argument.



4. Write a First Draft


Next, the student should convert their outline into essay form. Each paragraph (again, there should be at least five in total) should be comprised of at least five to six sentences; the three body paragraphs are to start off with transitions to better move from point to point while further supporting and strengthening the overall paper’s argument. The conclusion paragraph, which restates the Thesis Statement, provides an overview of the paper and concludes the essay’s argument.



5. Edit, Do a Peer Review, Revise, Then Submit the Paper


This step involves the student rereading their first draft to catch errors and then make corrections: mistakes in spelling and in punctuation, etc., as well as mistakes or inconsistences in their argument. But the student should be rereading their essay to confirm that their argument is strong and plausible. Also, another student should read the corrected draft, too; they should be able t tell if the essay makes a weak argument. This allows the student writing the essay an opportunity to make the appropriate changes before the essay is ultimately submitted to their professor for evaluation.


Once more, the Definition Essay is meant for a student to subjectively define an abstract term, such love, affection or intelligence – terms that carry different meanings and connotations to different people. The writing process includes choosing a term to define, crafting a thesis statement and providing evidence to support it. ABCessays offers professional help at any stage of essay writing. To save your time - order now!  

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