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Sample Definition Essay

Updated: Apr 20, 2016
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TERM: Marriage (noun)



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The term “marriage” is understood by people all over the world to mean the social and spiritual union of only a man and a woman, that it’s an institution created to sustain the religious sanctity of marriage; however, this – unfortunately – excludes homosexuals. Even the first definition in most dictionaries for marriage is: “the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.” But that definition is not an accurate illustration of the term in today’s world. Lower in the list of definitions for “marriage,” there is a more appropriate 21st-century definition of the word: “a similar union between partners of the same sex; gay marriage.” However, that definition does not do justice, either. Because gay marriage is now legally recognized in countries like America, as well as by plenty of others, because marriage is no longer seen only in the limiting context of religion, and because every person has the right to legally and socially marry whomever they wish regardless of their or their significant others’ gender, the standard definition for “marriage” should be: “the formal union between a man and a woman as well as between partners of the same sex.”

Marriage is the formal union between a man and a woman as well as between partners of the same sex

Traditionally, marriage was a religious sacrament, serving as an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritually divine grace. Most major world religions oppose the sacramental union of homosexual marriage, saying that only a man and a woman can and should marry each other. Those same religions, as a result, strongly oppose homosexuality in general and would never acknowledge and support gay marriage. However the world is changing – it already has changed. First of all, not everyone practices a religion, which means many people live their life according to their own set of standards, principles and guidelines – and not that of a dogmatic religion. Also, now that marriage has become more of a universal social construct (and not so much a religious act), more and more people of the same gender are marrying; homosexual marriage is being seen by many of the world population as an individual’s choice, a question of human rights and not religion. However, others still disagree. But since there is currently not a universally appropriate definition for “marriage” in the English dictionary, it would be better for humanity, for the pious and the non-pious, if the term’s standard definition included homosexual and heterosexual couples.



See also:


     Definition Essay

     Definition Essay Sample

     How to Write a Definition Essay

     Definition Essay Topics



Also, the term should include the union between homosexuals and heterosexuals because it has become legal, in quite a few countries, actually for any two people to marry each other. In the United States it is deemed unconstitutional to forbid gay marriage, meaning that many of the country’s states are now legally allowing (and some already have) people of the same gender to marry. If it has become legal for homosexuals to marry, then the definition of “marriage” should be changed to reflect the change in mentality, in culture and society, and include gay people who marry.


Lastly, since it is now socially and both legally and culturally acceptable for gays to marry – because it is becoming more and more understood by the world that whomever one chooses to spend their life with is their business – the meaning of “marriage” has changed forever. And since its meaning has changed, its main, standard definition should change as well to represent this evolution in thought, in action and in society and culture. People can and should marry whomever they want – and it shouldn’t be up to religious or social groups to determine this for another person.


To conclude, there are several reasons why the definition of “marriage” should be: “the formal union between a man and a woman as well as between partners of the same sex.” Not only is it legal for homosexual couples now to marry in countries like America and others, marriage is now understood beyond the scope of religion – the kind of religions that do not recognize gay marriage as an official union between two people. Also, this is true because it’s becoming increasingly acceptable to think that the every adult, gay or not, has the right to marry whomever they wish, regardless of their spiritual creed, religion or moral standards – and, most of all, regardless of their gender. 

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