Writing a definition essay opens your mind and make you explore more meaningful terms. You will also be subjected to various topics, some exciting while others could be boring. Either way, you must hone your research skills and gather facts to support your topic.

However, some learners encounter challenges writing a definition essay. It could be a lack of basic writing skills, inadequate research materials, or lack of time. Fortunately, this guide is packed with helpful tips and definition essay examples to help you craft a brilliant paper.

What is a definition essay?

So, what is definition essay? As its name suggests, it is an academic paper that defines a particular concept or subject. It’s more of a dictionary that explains specific terms. Some concepts have a concrete meaning, while others need elaborate explanation.

For example, the definition of a car is relatively straightforward, “it’s a moving vehicle propelled by wheels.” But what is happiness, justice, or love? In such a case, you need to explain these concepts based on someone’s point of view.

Ideally, writing an extended definition essay looks like writing a thorough dictionary explanation. However, it is not a complicated form of writing, but it will feel hard when you have no time. You can hire competent and professional writers to handle your definition essays.

How to write a definition essay?

The definition essay outline follows simple, easy-to-follow steps. Your organizational skills are needed to help you write the paper. These are parts of a definition paper:

Choose a captivating topic

Choose a complex, broad term if you want a better grade. By this, we mean an exciting term that does not sound too common. If you find it complicated even to explain it in simple two sentences, that is the ideal topic!

Use reliable sources

Your explanation should come from a reliable source. Use sources like books, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. It also allows your audience to trust your explanations.

Offer explanation

Disclose the meaning of the term in the introduction. Give full details by having an introduction and providing evidence in the body paragraphs. However, do not load your essay with unnecessary information.

Definition essay structure

Mastering how to write a definition paper requires you to have a structure. Ideally, a good definition paper is segmented into four parts; introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Let us explore these parts in detail.

Definition essay introduction

Writing a definition essay starts with an introduction. The introductory section offers the main explanation of the term by a trusted encyclopedia or dictionary. In addition, you can provide a personal definition and give the official meaning which relates.

Most students get stuck on how to start an essay with a definition. But the trick of introduction is to make it enjoyable. This is how you will keep the reader hooked and motivated to read further. You can start the introduction with an interesting fact, famous cities, a literary quote or jokes.

Definition essay thesis statement

The thesis statement introduces your argument, which you should provide at the end of the introduction. The aim is to provide a simple explanation of the term. So, make the thesis statement short and clear-cut. For example, if it a subject on love subject- you can do one like this- Love is a complex subject that fosters life, kindness and growth.

You should never use terms such as this paper or here you will find. Make sure you stipulate the points that you will use to build the next paragraphs.

Body paragraph of definition essay

The body part is the most crucial section of a definition paper. After hooking your reader with an exciting introduction, ensure the body paragraphs are intriguing as well. Conduct your research well and explain the terms logically. More so, ensure each point or ideal have a separate paragraph.


Conclude your defining essay by summarizing the main point. Then, recap your thesis statement in a single conclusion. Ensure you don’t introduce a point in this part.

Definition essay pro tips

Choosing a topic: There is a myriad of topics to choose from. So, ensure you explore topic ideas thoroughly and choose a complex term that will help you unleash your creativity.

Maintain short paragraphs: The idea of having short and precise paragraphs is to help you write clear sentences. No fluff.

Provide examples: Be generous with real-life examples. They help readers relate well to the defining terms. Read through various definition paper examples online to get

Offer dynamic explanation: Dynamic explanations help you think critically and logically. As a result, you get high scores on your paper.

In-depth research: Conduct thorough research to have a broad understanding of your topic.

Proofread: Proofread and edit your work to avoid submitting a paper full of grammatical and lexical errors.

Sample definition essay topics

Social topics

  • Is laziness a good or bad habit?
  • How did famous entrepreneurs succeed?
  • What is multiculturalism?
  • Who is a successful person?
  • Who can be called a hero?

Argument topics

  • What motivate people to abuse drugs?
  • Should the death penalty still exist?
  • Is cloning people or animals an ethical thing to do?
  • Should citizens be patriotic about their country?
  • Racism: it should be stopped
  • Love: is it an illusion?
  • Charisma: why every leader should possess the trait

Topic of definition essay

  • Is a college degree necessary for success?
  • The influence of happy marriage on a person’s success
  • Which factors define a good job?
  • Can a person succeed in both career and family?
  • Healthy living: a general explanation

Popular definition essay topics

  • Power
  • Surrealism
  • Politics
  • Love
  • Racism
  • Peer pressure
  • Kindness
  • Success

Definition essay example 1

Here is an example of a definition essay to give more guidance.

Topic: Love

“You are just relaxing, but you cannot get a particular off your mind. At the mention of their names, you get elated instantly. Is that what we call love?

Defining love can be challenging. But it can involve sexual attraction, brotherly loyalty, or platonic attraction. The ancient languages have different types of love; familial, brotherly, sexual, and God’s love.

Brotherly love is not sexual, and it exists between close friends regardless of their gender. It primarily refers to friendship.

Family love indicates deep affection for friends and family.

God’s love is agape. His love is described as steadfast and deep.

Whether familial, agape, or brotherly, love should be treasured.”

Definition essay example 2

Car: It has become a basic necessity

Today, a car is an essential part of the dress code. Without it, you tend to feel unclad, unattractive, and uncertain in the urban arena.

“A car has a myriad of definitions. The standard definition of a car is an automobile fitted with four wheels and propelled by an engine. It mainly transports people rather than languages. The modern car consists of a sophisticated system with defined functions.

From high-strength plastics to new steel alloys, metals, and electronic computers, cars are getting complex each day. But you are more likely to get confused as there is an antique, classic, and vintage car.

An antique car is over 40 years. Therefore, it constantly needs original specs to function effectively.

A classic car is 20 years old. It should be restored or maintained to stay close to its original version.

A vintage car is defined as an automobile that was designed between 1919 and 1930.

A car has become a necessity, opposed to a luxury, as it was perceived some decades ago.”

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