What is Definition Essay?

A definition essay is an essay that requires you to write your personal definition of a particular word. It requires you to do extensive research. Since you are defining the word yourself, your definition essay must be well backed up with enough research in order to be considered as a valid definition.

At one time or another, students are often required to write a definition essay on a particular word or concept either as a class activity or as a writing challenge to help the students develop their writing skills. Below are some useful tips that have been compiled to help students ace their definition essays.

Pick the right topic

As you are about to write your definition essay, the first thing you should consider is picking your topic. While picking your own essay, in as much as it is important for you to pick a topic that you like and you are familiar with, it is also very important for you to know that most people do not like to read on what they already know before. So when you want to pick your essay, do not choose common words such as school, food, sleep, cars. These are not very interesting words, and they can easily discourage your reader from reading through your essay.

To draw your reader’s attention with your topic, it is advised for you to choose a more abstract term as your topic as this will interest your readers. You should aim to expand the knowledge of the readers and give the new information they cannot find in a regular dictionary.

Do your research

Since your essay is an informative essay that tells people the meaning of a particular word, the information you give should be accurate and correct. Giving a wrong meaning to a particular word can jeopardize the whole essay and make your essay look like rubbish. To avoid this type of error, ensure you do extensive research on the term you are working on. While doing your research, make sure the sources of the evidence you are using are trusted.

Also, to do your research, you should check different dictionaries to see how the dictionary defines such a word. Note the different definitions given by these dictionaries in your essay. Do an analysis of different scientists or philosophers that tried to define the term you are working on. Lastly, during your research write on how the definition of the word has evolved over the years or how it has remained constant over the years. Once you have done all these, it is time to move to the next step of writing your essay.

Have a say on the topic you are working on

Once you have done enough research on the word you want your essay to be based on you should make your opinion known about the word. Say what you think about such a word and let your reader know that you understand the meaning of the word. You should also back your opinion up with evidence and write factors that make you think like that. Share your knowledge based on your own personal definition.

Also, you should describe cases that characterize the word you are defining and let these cases show why you are using a particular definition for a particular word and not another definition. You have to add value to the definition you have made based on your own perception.

Know the structure of your Definition Essay

The structure of the definition essay is just like any other essay and it includes: 

·     Introduction.

·     Body Paragraphs.

·     Conclusion.


The introduction of your definition essay should give a brief description of the word you want to define. To catch the attention of your audience, you have to make the introduction of your essay as interesting as you can.

Start your introduction with the dictionary definition of the word, and spice it up with some interesting facts that will wow your reader and make them want to read some more.


It is very important for you to write a very good thesis statement when you are writing your definition essay. The thesis statement helps the reader to get a central idea on what the term you are writing on is about.

When writing the thesis statement, ensure you do not give a full or total description of what you are writing on, just give the reader something that will trigger their curiosity and make them want to read more. Do not make the thesis statement be a repetition of the definition of the term you have already given and also avoid using passive words since this can easily bore your reader.

Body Paragraphs

It is in the body of your essay that you will develop all the points you have. Ensure you put all the points you have developed into paragraphs and make each paragraph carry each point. You should start each paragraph detailing the history and origin of the word or topic, move into a full dictionary definition and usage, and finally back it up with your own opinion based on what you have learned.


Here, in conclusion, do not introduce anything new, rather draw all your main points together. Summarize everything you have written above. Define the most important things connected with your topic to give your reader more information. Explain why you chose to write your essay on the particular word and let your audience know the importance of the concept you are defining. To do this, try to write your definition with words that are politically or socially import in the import in the present.

Finally, after you have finished your essay, you should review your work and read it more than once to find your errors. You can also take your essay to a more experienced person for a professional review.

If you follow the steps aboveDefinition Essay, you are on your way to writing a very good and professional definition essay.


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