Best Writing Tips For Definition Paper Writing

Writing a definition essay is one of the skills students are expected to master as a part of their academic goals. This is an essay that explains the meaning of a word to the readers incorporating both the formal and the personal meaning. While the title may indicate that it is easy to write a definition essay, there is a trick to writing a winning piece. This is an essay that can be quite challenging to write as it is likely to confuse students. This largely associated with the choice of the word the student selects to define in their essay. The purpose of the essay is tied to explaining the meaning of a specific word. It is important, that the definition given in the essay is lengthy and very thorough. As mentioned above, there is a challenge to writing this type of an essay, mostly because the students will start their essay on a high note and right before they have completed their essay, will run out of material to write about. The key to a good essay is the choice of a word, where the student will offer readers the academic meaning and the personal meaning. As such, it is crucial for the student to make sure they have a word they can easily work with to bring to the audience a definition essay that is intriguing.

Topic choice

Ensuring the word chosen is easy to understand. First for the student and then the readers.

Choosing a word for a definition essay has to be aligned along what the student is familiar with. Otherwise there are chances the student will not offer a quality paper as much of the information is going to be rather formal.

The idea behind a definition essay which is well written, is intriguing. The word could be a rather easy one to describe, but the way the writer gets the readers interested in the topic is a key. For example, there are not many students who can write about a table that would be intriguing enough.

The writer may choose words like loyalty, love, honesty and heroism among others which can easily be debatable. These are words that get the readers thinking, inward relative to what they consider the meaning of the word to mean.

While there is a formal definition of every of these words, it is the abstract meaning that is crucial in a definition essay.

After reading through the essay, the readers can write a definition essay of their own about what they feel is the definition of the word. This is a meaning that may not concur with the writer’s definition.

Every other reader will have an opinion of the meaning of the word and it will depend on the experiences they have had in their lives. For example, love means different things to different people and so does heroism. It is this element of provoking the reader’s thoughts that makes a definition essay intriguing to the reader.

The word love is quite wide and it would be easier in the writing process to narrow down to a specific kind of love. As such, the writer may choose to write about romantic love or first love.

Suggested topics for a definition essay

  1. Love
  2. Hate
  3. Success
  4. Laziness
  5. The American dream
  6. Courage
  7. Honesty
  8. Heroism
  9. Terrorism
  10. Family
  11. Marriage
  12. Rudeness
  13. Fashion
  14. Home
  15. House
  16. Girlfriend
  17. Husband
  18. Boyfriend
  19. Wife
  20. Respect
  21. Honor
  22. Beauty
  23. Privacy
  24. Poverty
  25. Happiness
  26. Friendship
  27. Enemy
  28. Allies
  29. Health
  30. Pain
  31. Humor
  32. Kindness

Common structure

The outline of an essay is the most fundamental part after the thesis statement. This is relative to the level of guideline that it offers to writers as they establish what to include in the paper. It also saves time as it helps the writer to focus on what is important in the definition essay. The basic form of an outline to be used in a definition essay is an introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs and a conclusion. To look at the common structure student may buy essay sample and use it as a basis for further writing.

Example topic: Romantic Love

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs
  • Origin and history of the romantic love
  • Dictionary and full use of romantic love
  • Personal definition of romantic love from experience
  • Conclusion


The introduction of a definition essay should have a catchy statement that leads the readers to get interested in the paper. This may be framed as a question or a statement that is debatable. This should then be followed by a dictionary meaning. Ideally, this creates a starting point the readers can use as a point of reference for the rest of the essay. It also sets the premises, from which the writer may negate or offer a similar opinion on the meaning of the word relative to their personal experiences.

Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the most important part of the definition essay, as it guides the debate throughout the rest of the paper. This is a statement that should be debatable, so as to give the readers a chance to review their own thoughts on the meaning of the word according to them. They may agree with the statement and the debate in the definition essay, or they may reject the meaning offered.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs form the bulk of the paper as this is the section the writer uses to build up on the debate. At the start of each of the paragraph, the student should make sure to include a topic statement. This is a sentence that introduces what the paragraph is going to be talking about. The rest of the sentences are also crucial as they support the topic sentence and direct the debate in the direction of the thesis statement. At the end of the paragraph the writer uses transition words to join up the ideas discussed in one paragraph to the next.

The first paragraph of the definition essay introduces the word and brings to the attention of the readers the origin and history of the word. This helps the readers to get a better understanding of the word. The other next paragraph in the definition essay is the full dictionary meaning. This offers the readers the official or rather the academic meaning of the word. In the third paragraph, the writer introduces the personal meaning of the word. This is a crucial part of the debate as it builds on the thesis statement and further elaborates on the meaning the writer wants to bring out.


In the conclusion, the writer summarizes all the main points and further points to the argument in the definition essay. In the last of the definition essay conclusion, the writer should then explain how the term has impacted them to give it a sense of purpose.

Sources for a definition essay

It is important the student uses academic sources in the definition essay. This is relative to the fact that most of the information included in the essay relates to factual data. Elements like the definition of the term are formal and cannot be from non-academic sources. These sources could be acquired from a library or academic journal databases.

Finalizing the Definition Essay

When the writer is done writing the paper, they should go through the paper to check for any mistakes that could compromise the essay. It is also crucial to have a peer look at the essay to make sure they did not leave out any mistakes: grammatical or otherwise. This also includes checking the citation and how fitting the title of the definition essay is.