Definition essay is a kind of academic writing that deals with defining what a particular term means. The space for customization is vast – it may be written on any object and concept in existence, from concrete ones, such as wood, pencil or computer to highly abstract ones, like life, belief or happiness. However, the subject matter most often is drawn to the second group, thus providing great possibilities for personalizing your writing.
The main distinctive features of definition essay are as follows:
- You may write it in any conceivable manner – from direct and dry description to savage irony and so on.
- There is nothing especially personal; you can write on concrete objects – people mostly agree about what they and their properties are.
- When talking about abstract notions, you are supposed to express your opinion on them, how you understand them, give examples. In dealing with concepts like love or death, one speaks more about one’s feelings and attitudes, than about actual facts.
In order to write a definition essay, you should have a very clear idea of what you are going to write; best of all – you should write on something you care about. Analytical skills will also come in handy, for, although you may understand perfectly well the concept as such, you may be dumbfounded when asked to actually define what it is.
In terms of essay construction plan, a typical definition essay will look like this:
- Start with a dictionary definition of the term in question, or, in case of more complex concepts, its definition by some well-known thinker or specialist in the field you write on.
- Write about your own definition of the term and your attitude towards it. If you want to create a basis for the rest of the essay, you may enumerate several points, which are important in your definition and analyze them in the body of the essay.
- Mention some background information or how you are related to the topic.
- The first of the points you mentioned before, supplemented with examples and explanations.
- The same goes for all the rest points you have mentioned.
- Refer to what you have written in the introduction.
As you may see, there is nothing particularly difficult in writing definition essays. Use these guidelines, but don’t feel limited by them. Personal view is everything in this kind of writing.