How to Write a Definition Essay: Steps, Tips + 100 Topics

How to Write a Definition Essay: Steps, Tips + 100 Topics
Table of Contents
  1. How to Write a Definition Essay: Steps, Tips + 100 Topics
  2. What Is a Definition Essay?
  3. Definition Essay: How Does It Look Like?
  4. How To Choose an Effective Topic?
  5. How to Write a Definition Essay in 5 Steps
  6. Step #1 : Start with choosing a good topic
  7. Step #2 : Apply primary sources
  8. Step #3 : Disclose term in the introduction
  9. Step #4 : Reveal the term in the body paragraph
  10. Step #5 : Provide vivid examples
  11. Writing a Definition Essay: Striking Tips
  12. Structure of an Effective Definition Essay: How to Make it Brilliant?
  13. Definition essay outline
  14. Introduction
  15. Thesis statement of a definition essay
  16. Definition essay: body paragraphs
  17. Definition essay conclusion
  18. 100 Outstanding Definition Essay Topics
  19. Family definition essay topics
  20. Definition essay on love: topics
  21. Freedom definition essays
  22. Happiness definition essay
  23. Common topics for definition essay
  24. Extended definition essay topics
  25. Definition argument essay topics
  26. Definition essay topics for college
  27. Simple definition essay topics

When you are looking for a definition essay topic, you may notice that some interesting titles, topics draw you in. On the other hand, some topics are boring & they just pass over. This fact shows the importance of choosing a good definition essay topic and creating a good title when you are working on your paper. For some students, this kind of writing may seem hard. In this article, we will explain how to write a definition essay & we’ll give a list of successful examples of topics in different categories. Keep reading, find more information and get help with your writing.

What Is a Definition Essay?

It is a special kind of writing papers which is defining particular terms, in other words, a definition paper is a piece of writing that explains what some term means. For example, you may define the meaning of such words as “love”, “freedom”,”family”, etc. Some words have quite concrete meanings: table, paper, car, etc. But there are terms which are more abstract, convey extensive, complex concepts, meanings: happiness, honesty, justice. The explanation of these words depends on the situation in which they are used & on the point of view of a particular person.

Definition Essay: How Does It Look Like?

A definition essay is a type of an academic writing paper, which takes minimum half of a page and looks similar to a detailed dictionary explanation but a bit more extended. It is not so complicated as it may seem at first sight but if you feel that it is hard for you or you are restricted in time, you may get a help from professional writers on any kinds of assignments, any topics.

How To Choose an Effective Topic?

Since in your paper you have to give a more extended explanation of a word that dictionaries give, it’s better to choose the broad term which will be defined. You can’t succeed with a paper if you choose the words like “cup” or “cheese” because you’ll be able to reveal only the specific & narrow meaning of a simple word. Always pick up broad terms. In this way, you are able to give many definitions of the same word, different opinions, give the explanation, and provide your own interpretation. Don’t forget to mention some examples from a real life to support your definitions. For example, Time management can be an interesting topic for an essay. You can find an essay on time management in our library and take it as an example.

Experts distinguish several groups of topics, choosing which you can develop a good paper for this writing assignment:

  • General Issues;
  • History, Politics, Governance;
  • Abstract Terms (Happiness Definition Essay);
  • Special Terms;
  • Topics on Society (Family Definition Essay);
  • Religion Issues;
  • Disputed Issues (Freedom Definition Essay), etc.

How to Write a Definition Essay in 5 Steps

Now you've already learned what is a definition essay, time to discover how to write a definition essay, which steps you should follow.

Step #1: Start with choosing a good topic

This is the first step you experience in your writing process. Choose complex, complicated, broad term & you’ll have an opportunity to get a high grade. Broad, multiple meanings, an interesting history, origins will provide you with a success. Doesn’t matter you choose definition argumentative essay topics or common topics for definition essay, make sure your topic is complex. How to understand that the topic is good enough? If you realize that you can’t explain the word in 1-2-3 sentences, grab it, that’s the ticket.

Step #2: Apply primary sources

First of all, provide explanations from well-known encyclopedias, vocabularies, dictionaries, textbooks. You can use the Merriam-Webster dictionary or any other trusted source. This will allow showing your audience the way in which the majority explains your topic.

Step #3: Disclose term in the introduction

Tell your reader what the term stands for in the introduction. Make him keep reading by showing that in this definition paper he will find interesting, alternative, sophisticated definitions.

Step #4: Reveal the term in the body paragraph

This is the main part of your definition paper. Give full, detailed information on the chosen topic. Write 2 or 3 body paragraphs, do not overload your paper with unnecessary information, and don’t give definitions which are duplicating each other.

Step #5: Provide vivid examples

Find and provide several bright and sound examples which can interpret, show the definition. Explain your personal opinion on the topic.

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Writing a Definition Essay: Striking Tips

  • Before choosing the topic, explore all topic ideas meticulously and make a decision wisely;
  • Make paragraphs of your definition paper logically united with the help of transition words, phrases;
  • Choose words with multiple meanings or multi-dimensional words. It is great if a word has a lot of synonyms – you have a chance to shine a light;
  • The dynamic definition is also a good idea. They are more complex than static ones. For example, a definition essay on love will give you a great deal of room for creativity;
  • Provide examples from a real life;
  • Proofread, edit your work, avoid errors in grammar;
  • Make an in-depth research: historical research gives you the understanding of the origin and meaning of the topic.

Structure of an Effective Definition Essay: How to Make it Brilliant?

In order to learn how to write a definition essay, you should know the structure of an effective paper. Read about it in this section of the article. A well-written definition assignment purely focuses on the explanation of the specific term and should be created according to the following structure:

  • Introduction;
  • Thesis statement;
  • Body part;
  • Conclusion.

Definition essay outline

A definition paper as any other type of writing assignment has to have an outline. Why do you need it? With its help, you can distinguish the complexity of the topic, the length, structure of the body part.


This introductory part should contain the main explanation of the word given by a well-known, trusted dictionary. Search in online dictionaries or find it in the library. Develop your own context of the definition paper and give the official meaning which suits.
It is also a good idea to start with a hook – some interesting details which can motivate your reader to read your work. You can use:

  • Persuasive statistics;
  • Interesting fact;
  • Metaphor or literary quote;
  • Jokes;
  • Famous people's stories or cities, etc.

It has to build a smooth type of transition and introduce the body paragraphs.

Thesis statement of a definition essay

The thesis statement is the main argument of the definition essay which the student should provide at the end of his introduction. It doesn’t have to be a regular thesis statement, as you know in the definition paper you should not prove anything. The main goal of this kind of paper is just to explain the term. Simply decide on the clearest, complex explanation and make it your thesis statement.

Definition essay: body paragraphs

The writing process becomes more straightforward when it comes to writing your body part. All you need is just conducting research and nailing down explanations of definition in a logical way. Share different points of view and explain the whole meaning for the word. Each idea or point of view should have a separate paragraph. The structure of the body part can be the following:

  • 1 claim: it includes the first entire meaning;
  • 2 claim: includes another aspect of the term;
  • 3 claim: includes the third opinion or explanation of the term.

You can tell about the origin or the history of the term in body paragraphs. Also, give your own definition.

Definition essay conclusion

In conclusion, you should summarize all meanings of the word which you reveal and come to a single conclusion. Add a short summary, analysis of explanations and restate the thesis statement which you provided in the introduction.

100 Outstanding Definition Essay Topics

We have given you tips on how to write a definition essay, here you can find extraordinary definition essay topics from different categories. Find extended definition essay topics, definition essay topics for college and many others on our list.

Family definition essay topics

  1. What is a family
  2. What role does the family play in a modern society
  3. Childfree couple: can it be called a family
  4. Does a happy family have distinguishing features
  5. Bloodline – is it necessary for being a family
  6. Family obligations: who is the main in the family
  7. Extended families: their role in people’s lives
  8. Small, medium, & big families
  9. Social Media: influence on a family
  10. Single parenting: can one parent be a family

Definition essay on love: topics

  1. Parents’ love & development of the kids’ personality
  2. Meaning of love in a family
  3. Love: a common interpretation
  4. The modern concept of love: influence of the same-gender relationships
  5. First love: its influence on people’s lives
  6. Love: reality or a fairy tale?
  7. Love & long-distance relationships
  8. Qualities of love
  9. Love: a way of harmonization of a person
  10. Love & trust
If you decide to write one of these topics, take our Romeo and Juliet essay as an example. You will come up with some interesting ideas.

Freedom definition essays

  1. Freedom: general meanings
  2. Freedom & communism
  3. Meaning of freedom for a modern youth
  4. Freedom & Independence
  5. Does everyone deserve freedom
  6. Freedom for today’s society
  7. Freedom & happiness: what is the main & what is a derivative thing
  8. Freedom & justice
  9. Is it possible to feel freedom if you live in a modern society system
  10. Freedom: why some prisoners prefer to stay in a prison

Happiness definition essay

  1. Happiness as a motivation for success
  2. Happiness & influence of family
  3. Happiness: common meanings
  4. Happiness as a main positive feeling
  5. Happiness: the influence of a happy childhood on a personality
  6. What does happiness mean for a modern person
  7. Happiness & money in a modern society
  8. Happiness: what does it consist of
  9. Can a person be happy without love
  10. How can you define a happiness

Common topics for definition essay

  1. Laziness & student’s life
  2. Respect: meaning for a relationships
  3. American dream: general meaning (Consult: American dream essay)
  4. Right to privacy & social networks
  5. Loyalty & family relationships
  6. Fashion: influence on teenagers
  7. Racism: different aspects of the term
  8. Terrorism: one of the main problems of the 21st century
  9. Healthy living - a way of life or new religion
  10. Maturity: does it depend only on the age

Extended definition essay topics

  1. Caring parents or despots: punishment measures
  2. Social Media, modern society, & communication
  3. What is common between self-development & self-assurance
  4. Downshifting – can it be called as a person’s way of development
  5. Procrastination: how can we overcome it
  6. Hostility & a real friendship – how to recognize
  7. Falsehood and secrecy in a relationship
  8. When a person can be called honest
  9. Modern education: is it able to develop individuality of a student
  10. Dependence & individuality of minor kids

Definition argument essay topics

  1. Charisma: why it is important for a manager
  2. Team player or individual performer: which skill is more important
  3. Natural Beauty: why it is important to save it in the era of plastic surgery
  4. Ambitions: the most important what a young specialist may have
  5. Using electronic devices in a class
  6. Racism: reasons why it should be stopped all over the world
  7. Death penalty: is it acceptable in the modern world
  8. Place of women in modern business
  9. Corporate culture: why it is a competitive advantage
  10. E-commerce as a future of business

Definition essay topics for college

  1. Cell phone applications for studying
  2. The healthy way of living: the general explanation of the meaning
  3. What is a good job: which factors should be taken into account
  4. Second language: obligatory skill for a high-educated person
  5. Happy marriage & its influence on the person’s success
  6. Love & its meaning for teenagers
  7. College degree: is it necessary for a success
  8. Democracy: is it a condition of a freedom
  9. Career or family: can a person succeed in both
  10. College application: why it is important to impress

Find out more about College Essays here.

Simple definition essay topics

You can choose these topics if you already know how to write a definition essay, you’re good at it & you are sure about your writing skills.

  1. Peace of mind
  2. Generosity
  3. Feminism
  4. Political correctness
  5. Heroism
  6. Frustration
  7. Sense of humor
  8. Sexism
  9. Kindness
  10. Modesty
  11. Trust
  12. Sportsmanship
  13. Individualism
  14. Self-respect
  15. Trustworthy
  16. Responsibility (read about how to write an essay about responsibility here)
  17. Peer pressure
  18. Human Cloning
  19. Creative mind
  20. Abortion

We have provided the most successful examples of topics from different categories. We also told you how to write a definition essay. So you’re holding all the cards now. But if you don’t feel confident, or you face some problems with your writing assignments, you can turn for a help, our professional writers will accomplish any kind of an academic paper at the highest level without any delays. Just place your order, give us your details & get a perfect result by your deadline.