What is a Definition Essay?
A definition essay is writing that explains what a term means. Some terms have definite, concrete meanings, such as glass, book, or tree. Terms such as honesty, honor, or love are abstract and depend more on a person's point of view.
Three Steps to Effective Definition
- Tell readers what term is being defined.
- Present clear and basic information.
- Use facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand.
Choosing a Definition
Choosing a definition is a key step in writing a definition essay. You need to understand the term before you can define it for others. Read the dictionary, but don't just copy the definition. Explain the term briefly in your own words. Also, it's important to limit your term before you start defining it. For example, you could write forever on the term "love." To limit it, you would write about either "romantic love," "platonic love," or "first love."
Thesis Statement of a Definition Essay
The thesis statement usually identifies the term being defined and provides a brief, basic definition.
(term) (basic definition)
Ex: Assertiveness is standing up for your rights.
How To Write an Effective Definition
- Create a definition. There are several ways to define a term. Here are a few options.
- Define by function. Explain what something does or how something works.
- Define by structure. Tell how something is organized or put together.
Define by analysis. Compare the term to other members of its class and then illustrate the differences. These differences are special characteristics that make the term stand out. For example, compare a Siberian husky to other dogs, such as lap dogs, mutts, or sporting dogs.
(term) (precise definition)
Ex: A Siberian husky is a dog reputed for its ability to tolerate cold, its distinctive features, and its keen strength and stamina.
- Define by what the term does not mean. This distinction can sometimes clarify a definition and help a reader to better understand it.
- Use understandable facts, examples, or anecdotes. Select facts, examples, or anecdotes to fully explain your definition. Ask yourself, "Which examples will best help readers understand the term? What examples would most appeal to my readers? Will a brief story reveal the term's meaning?" Do not use any examples that will not support the definition.
Remember: A definition essay is writing that explains what a term means. When writing a definition essay, remember to tell readers what term is being defined, to present a clear and basic definition, and to use facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand
Here are the examples of popular definition essay topics:
- Sense of Humor
Whatever essay topic you choose, you should be interested in the subject and familiar with it. It would be great if you had your personal experience in the matter you are going to define.
Essay on The Meaning of Love
719 Words3 Pages
The Meaning of Love
Love has many different meanings to different people. For a child, love is what he or she feels for his mommy and daddy. To teenage boy, love is what he should feel for his girlfriend of the moment, only because she says she loves him. But as we get older and "wiser," love becomes more and more confusing. Along with poets and philosophers, people have been trying to answer that age-old question for centuries: What is love?
One definition of love in The Merriam-Webster dictionary is "attraction based on sexual desire" (439). Some people believe that love and sex are one in the same. If two people are in love, they should be having sex. And, on the flipside, if two people are having sex, they must be in…show more content…
This passage obviously alludes to sex, but sex is not completely necessary when there is love. The speaker in Sharon Olds' "Sex without Love" asks, "How do they do it, the ones who make love / without love?" (1-2). Love is deeper and more meaningful than just physical or sexual attraction. Love is a feeling--an emotion.
Love is also defined in the dictionary as "strong affection," "warm attachment," and "unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for others" (439). All of these definitions are completely correct, but the dictionary does not explain how it feels to love someone. The reason that an explanation for this feeling is not found in the dictionary may be because love is so different for each individual person. In my experience, "strong affection" does not even begin to cover the sensation and emotions a person feels when he or she is in love. Love is compared to "the extraordinary sun / splashing its light / into astonished trees" in Denise Levertov's "Love Poem" (2-4). Like the sun, love is great and bright and fills a person with extreme joy. Love is greater than anything else a person could ever experience. A lover can even be better than a summer's day, as the speaker in Shakespeare's poem suggests. He compares his lover to a summer's day by saying that she is "more