Definition Essay — Complete Guide for Perfect Writing

A definition essay is an assignment that explores the meaning of a term, word, event, or phenomenon. This type of essay writing is famous for accepting even abstract and discrete concepts and ideas. What is love? What is the meaning of success? What is the real American dream? And so on and so forth. The way you define something may depend on your competence and skills, personal experiences, and the approach you consider the most appropriate for a certain topic.

Your Voice in Definition Essay

Some people may actually find this type of essay writing rather enjoyable. It opens the door for lots of personal thoughts, feelings, and scenarios. Although not all the definition essays allow you to express and share some experience with the audience, there is almost always a notable presence of the writer's voice in writing. For example, McLaughlin's book Dirt, where a social history is analyzed through the usage and abusing of dirt. The author states, "evidence of the imperfections of life, a constant reminder of change and decay. It is the dark side of all human activities.."

The reader is able to clearly identify the writer's voice through their perception. It's obvious that this doesn't match the dictionary's definition of dirt. But through his writing, McLaughlin provides us with an alternative, personal definition of this precise term (in the book, you can find very various examples throughout the plot).

Before Writing

When writing your definition essay, the first thing to do is to consider the role that your voice will play in the assignment. Are you confident in your knowledge enough to make a statement? Have you ever explored the issue before? It will be a good decision to identify your position before embarking on the essay. Abstract ideas such as freedom or happiness can be perceived differently depending on the person's personality. To avoid sounding jumbled or confused in your assignment and solve the "help write my essay" problem, remember to clearly define the topic and express your voice with relevant, precise examples.

Choosing a Good Topic

The topic you pick should be an actual term that can be clearly and distinctly explained to the reader. You may explore it through definitions, facts, examples, stories, classifications, compare and contrast method, or descriptions. Moreover, you can write about common terms or abstract concepts such as love, courage, honor, etc. Professional or formal explanations may also be provided, but they are more appropriate for technical terms or uncommon vocabulary. Redefining or reanalyzing commonly misunderstood, controversial, or misinterpreted terms is another method to write a definition essay. Readers may find it intriguing to know what is your individual vision of a certain phenomenon.

Find the Inspiration

If you don't have many requirements for your essay and want to select a compelling topic, define your sources of inspiration. It is true that you may find a great idea by looking out the window or going for a walk. Since many examples of definition essays involve personal beliefs, you may want to start figuring out what your attitude towards certain issues is or what ideas and concepts are a real worry for you. Below, you will find prewriting techniques to select a topic for your essay.

  • List and respond:
    It involves making a list of the things you hear on the daily or weekly basis (If you don't interact much with news or media it may take a bit longer than a day to make up a list). Make notes of advertisements, political speeches, public-service announcements, etc. and come up with an individual idea about each of them. The response should include your feelings on the subject and give you an understanding of what terms or topics may be interesting.
    For example, an advertisement for a low-fat sandwich that promises to help you lose weight may initiate some thoughts and ideas about health and nutrition. You may choose to define health in your essay. After explaining to the reader the dictionary definition of health, you can easily delve into related issues by discovering what is perceived to be good or bad health. Also, you can examine misconceptions regarding health, the food pyramid, diets, etc.
  • Blueprinting:
    As the name indicates, this method of prewriting involves sketching a picture to help you generate writing ideas. Generally, you would take a physical structure such as a house or room and sketch it out with naming one of its rooms or areas. Then, you would choose several items based on what you have created.
    For example, Social blueprinting is a great way to generate an appealing topic for a definition essay. You sketch your home or living space and name each room according to your relationships within the family, i.e., close, distant, cordial, undefined, etc. Next, you would list the people from your surrounding that fall under each category. Description of one particular aspect of these relationships can be a relevant topic for analysis or redefinition. You can find key terms by scanning through your blueprint and then identify precise examples by using the people you listed in your sketch. Try to choose relationships that would generate a lot of discussion or interest among the readers. The definition of a cousin, for example, may not initiate as many feelings and response as an explanation of what a "father" or "mother" means to you. That is because the last two terms are more complicated due to their significance in the social development of a human being.

One of the most important parts of any essay is selecting a topic. Once you've tackled that you can begin outlining approaches and define your target audience to impress every reader. Your personal experiences can play a key role in creating good and profound content. Maybe, you will be even surprised to analyze extraordinary and compelling views you can explore through the definition essays.