December 15, 2011 in Ideas for Essays

Definition Essay

The meanings of words and concepts depend on how the word or concept is used, whether it is concrete or abstract, and the view of the person defining the term. Therefore, a definition essay is more than a simple explanation. It is an essay based on how the word, term or concept has been used before, and on the writer’s need to understand it further.

There are three key parts to a definition: 1. Give a limited or precise explanation of the term. 2. Be clear when laying out the information. 3. Place the term in context using examples or a story that enables inferred understanding.

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Keep in mind that a definition essay attempts to show why a term or concept is given its meaning. An example or use of relevant facts can be useful in doing so. Sample Definition Essay Topics Students should choose a topic that they themselves need clarification on, so that the essay is not just a straight definition, but a process of working out meaning. Abstract topics are very popular with instructors when assigning this type of essay in humanities. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Beauty
  • Justice
  • Truth
  • Morality
  • Ethics
  • Evil

The above topics have definitions that are more or less subjective (informal) because they depend on point of view. Formal definitions are given to terms that must be understood to mean the exact same thing by everyone using them. These are common in the sciences and mathematics. Definition Essay Thesis Types The thesis of an informal definition essay will centre on the significance or value of the word or concept being defined. The thesis of a formal definition essay is the objective definition of the term. The significance and value of establishing the exact meaning of the term are discussed in the rest of the introduction.

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Some types of words or terms that require defining are:

  • Required in an academic field – usually formal definition
  • Abstract – definitions tend to be personal, but are used to make terms accessible to others
  • Obscure – usually formal definition
  • Misused – defined to correct improper use of misunderstanding of a term
  • Commonplace – defined to renew interest in much-used words

When writing an essay that clarifies the meaning of a word, it is essential to limit the word or concept being defined. This is the first step in selecting a definition that your paper will get across. For example, rather than trying to define ‘humour’ it would be easier and more useful to define ‘black humour’ or ‘irony’. Then make sure you yourself understand the limited term. Buy a Custom Essay-Writing Service Online For professional advice and writing services for research papers, essays, and applications, rely on experienced academic writers. With a proven record of supplying students at all levels with 100% original, high-quality, cheap essays, Qualityessay.com is your best source for reliable help with research and writing.

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