Understanding How to Write a Definition Essay

Susan Wilson, 26 May, 2019
Updated 20 November, 2020

Writing a definition essay begins with finding a complex term to explore and discuss. The words in consideration must have a background and different meanings to warrant research and extensive analysis. Therefore, approach your definition essay with the understanding of the words you are about to analyze. Choosing a complex word does not translate to looking for words that you are clueless about. Instead, a term’s choice should be one that you are familiar with but has a rich history and a strong background.

Simple Yet Clear Explanation of What Is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay is a paper that discusses the full definition and provides a formal explanation of a word or words. It stems from the term “define,” which means getting the formal meaning of a text or a word. Being an essay, the choice of words should not be minimalistic in their meanings but should afford the writer a wider scope to explore for the discussion.

Discover Effective Ways on How to Start a Definition Essay

Start your definition essay by choosing the word you will be analyzing for the rest of the assignment. After identifying the word, proceed to give the dictionary definition of your word or term under consideration. Also, ensure that you construct and introduce a thesis statement that will guide the rest of your discussion without deviation.

Guidelines on How to Write a Good Definition Essay

In a definition essay, the most fundamental process is choosing the words to analyze. Therefore, the primary step to writing a good essay lies in finding the proper term and confine your writing to giving meaning to the word through a detailed description. Always support your discussion with relevant facts and examples. Further, avoid introducing other terms that will require a separate definition or explanation in the course of your definition essay. Such words distract the reader from the original ideas and may end up affecting the overall flow of your write-up.

Read more: 50 Definition Essay Topic Ideas

Expert Level Tips for Writing a Definition Essay

As a student, it is imperative to uncover hidden secrets about any topic as an upper hand in executing the assignment. Getting expert definition essay tips will enhance your chances of writing quality papers for your assignments.

  • Own the term. The choice of a word to define must be out of the personal experience with the word. Owning it means you are familiar with the term from a class session or a personal study.
  • Choose a complex term with a rich history and a broad scope. If the instructions require more than one page in submissions, always go for words that will enhance your discussion length.
  • Rely on more than one source for your definition essay definition of terms. A dictionary is not fully sufficient in your explanation. Therefore, use other resources such as an encyclopedia.
  • Always introduce your term to the reader in a concise yet clear manner.
  • Start with general observations and get deeper into the body section of the paper.
  • Always consider giving examples that enhance the understanding and clarity of your topic to the reader.

The tips are also definition essay guidelines you can follow whenever confronted with this type of assignment. However, take note of the instructions provided by your instructor. These tips will only take effect when there is no other conflicting information from your instructor.

How to Structure a Definition Essay: Rely on This Expert Technique

Getting the correct structure of the essay is fundamental in ensuring that your paper is up-to-standard. In a definition essay, the common structure follows the introduction, body, and conclusion methodology. The body section has at least three paragraphs, where each paragraph must give a distinct exploration of the term. However, if the institution has a different structure, you must stick to the provided structure.

How to End a Definition Essay in a Professional Way

Always end your essay with a recap of the thesis. The conclusion is the last part of the paper and has its importance. Having a great conclusion entails reaffirming the thesis statement and its impact on the paper. The last thing on the definition essay should be to mention how the thesis or personal definition has expanded by the discussion.

Planning a Definition Essay Outline

Having an outline is crucial in guiding your writing. Other than eliminating confusion, it ensures that all main ideas are logically captured in the paper. Thus, an Intro-body-conclusion outline should always take precedence when writing your definition essay. Depending on the requisite number of pages, the number of body section paragraphs may vary.

Simple and Direct Definition Essay Structure

Definition essays have a structure that writers have to follow. A structure provides clarity for the paper and enables a student to identify the start and end sections. The conventional structure follows an introduction, a body section, and a conclusion.

  • Introduction
  • Introduce the topic under discussion
  • Introduce the thesis statement
  • Body section
  • History of the word. Discuss the history of the term under discussion briefly
  • Dictionary definition of the word. Show different dictionaries are defining the term
  • Personal definition based on personal experience. Use evidence from sources supporting your personal view.
  • Conclusion
  • Restate the thesis
  • Summarize the main points of the body text

The body section is divided into different paragraphs that discuss different aspects of the word(s) under consideration. Importantly, every section has its significance in the paper and should be included.

Starting With a Definition Essay Introduction

The introduction section is the first part of the essay and serves two important purposes. First, it gives the standard definition of the term under discussion. The definition could be a dictionary definition or a commonly used meaning. Second, it introduces the paper’s thesis statement, where the thesis represents your understanding and definition of the term. Remember to begin your introduction with a catchphrase as readers lose or gain interest based on your introduction’s quality.

Definition Essay Body Parts and Sections

The body section is further divided into different parts. Each part analyzes the term through different angles and provides the relevant facts regarding the term to better understand the reader. The most suitable structure involves three main paragraphs. Each paragraph is separate and discusses a unique idea about the topic. As defined under the structure subsection, every paragraph seeks to enhance the clarity of the word.

Effective Ways for Writing a Definition Essay Conclusion

The main purpose of a conclusion paragraph is to summarize the main points in the body text. At the start, restate the thesis statement and shortly reflect on the points discussed in the paper. Note that a conclusion is not a separate paragraph with its ideas. It simply summarizes the rest of the paper. Therefore, make it a brief and concise recollection of the rest of the paper. It should enhance the paper’s clarity and purpose and give the reader an understanding of the ideas being directly explored by the writer.





A definition essay follows a specific structure. How to organize your ideas through an outline, and the key functions of every section are fundamental. As you compose your paper, consider the tips and advice we have provided to help you write an excellent paper. You can also consider our academic essay writers’ input, who will deliver your paper following the highest standards possible. Use our cheap definition essay writing services!

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