Definition Essay Examples
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Choose Definition Essay Examples to Help With Your Writing
All students who want to write a good definition essay should look at our definition essay examples. We are here to share a little secret with you on how to start a definition essay and present the best examples of it. Only with our help and samples, your essay writing can become much simpler.
A definition essay is a type of essay where you need to explain a term in your own words, and its common meaning according to the historical and cultural background. To define a word using this criteria, it is best to choose an abstract term which does not have a concrete definition. In most cases, you will define terms which your readers have already heard about. So, there is no sense to include the definition from the dictionary.
Features of a Definition Essay
- The presence of a specific topic or question is a main feature, as is the work devoted to the definition of some object and sometimes its analysis.
- The essay must contain the expression of individual impressions and considerations on a particular occasion or issue. Obviously it defines or interpretes the subject.
- As a rule, it assumes a new, subjectively colored word about something. Such work can have a philosophical, historical, biographical, journalistic, literary, critical, scientific, or purely fictional character.
- In the content of the essay, the author’s personality, his or her worldview, thoughts, and feelings, is first and foremost judged.
The best way to achieve a good result in essay writing is to write directly and frankly, while remaining honest with yourself. In order to achieve the best results, check out our definition essay examples which can give you an idea on how to write your own paper.
We can distinguish some common features of the genre, which are usually listed in encyclopedias and dictionaries:
- Small in volume.
The volume is from one to seven pages of computer text. For example, at the Harvard Business School, essays are often written in only two pages.
- A specific theme and an emphatically subjective interpretation of it.
The theme of the essay is always concrete. It can not contain many themes or ideas (thoughts), and reflects only one option, one thought, and develops it. This is the answer to one question.
- Free composition.
Researchers note that the essay is by its nature arranged so that it does not tolerate any formal framework. It is often built contrary to the laws of logic, subject to arbitrary associations, guided by the principle “everything is the opposite.”
- Ease of narration.
The author of this work should establish a confidential style of communication with the reader. To be understood, he or she avoids deliberately complicated, unclear, and unnecessarily strict constructions. Researchers note that a good essay can be written only by someone who is fluent in the subject, who sees it from various angles, and is ready to present the reader with an exhaustive but multifaceted view of the phenomenon that has become the starting point of his or her reflections.
- Inclination to paradoxes.
The starting point for reflection is often an aphoristic, vivid statement or a paradoxical definition that literally confronts at first glance indisputable but mutually exclusive statements, characteristics, or theses.
- Internal semantic unity.
Perhaps this is one of the paradoxes of the genre. Free in composition, focused on subjectivity, the essay also has an internal semantic unity – in other words, the consistency of key theses and statements, the internal harmony of arguments and associations, the consistency of those judgments in which the personal position of the author is expressed.
- Orientation to simple language.
At the same time, it is necessary to avoid the use of slang, template phrases, shortened words, and an overly frivolous tone. The language used in writing should be taken seriously.
It is important to determine (to understand) the topic, the desired scope, and objectives of each paragraph. Start with the main idea or a bright phrase. The task is to immediately grab the attention of the reader (listener). Here, a comparative allegory is often used, when an unexpected fact or event is associated with the main theme. Each extended definition example on our site grabs the reader’s attention from the introduction – you can see it if you read them through.
Structure and Plan of a Definition Essay
The structure is determined by these requirements:
- The author’s thoughts on the problem are presented in the form of brief theses (T).
- The idea must be supported by evidence, so the arguments (A) follow the thesis.
Arguments are facts, phenomena of social life, events, life situations and life experience, scientific evidence, references to the opinions of scientists, and others. It is better to give two arguments in favor of each thesis: one argument seems unconvincing, three arguments can “overload” the essay, performed in a genre focused on brevity and imagery.
Thus, the essay acquires a ring structure (the number of theses and arguments depends on the topic, the chosen plan, and the logic of the development of thought):
- thesis, arguments
- thesis, arguments
- thesis, arguments
When writing a definition essay, it is also important to consider the following points:
- The introduction and conclusion should focus on the problem. (In the introduction, it is presented, while in the conclusion, the opinion of the author is summarized.)
- It is necessary to highlight paragraphs (you can see how to do it in our example of definition paragraph), to establish a logical connection between paragraphs: thus the integrity of the work is achieved.
- Style of writing: emotionality, expressiveness, artistry. Experts believe that the proper effect is provided by short, simple, various intonations of the sentence, skillful use of the “most modern” punctuation mark – a dash. However, the style reflects the characteristics of the individual, which is also useful to remember.
The Rules for Writing a Definition Essay
- From formal rules, we can only name one thing – the presence of a heading.
The internal structure can be arbitrary. However, it is necessary to repeat the conclusions at the end; they can’t be included in the main text or in the title.
- Argumentation can precede the formulation of the problem. The formulation of the problem can coincide with the final conclusion.
- Unlike a research paper, which is addressed to any reader, and starts with “I want to talk about …” and ends with “I have come to the following conclusions,” an essay is a replica addressed to the prepared reader (listener) – that is, a person who in general already represents what will be discussed. This allows the author to focus on the disclosure of a new one and not to clutter up the presentation with unnecessary details. You can check out any definition paper example on our site and you will see that each of them presents new information on the topic.
Common Mistakes While Writing a Definition Essay
Unlike tests, essays do not imply a multiple-choice format (when you are given a choice of multiple answers). Writing is not limited in time – you can rewrite it many times, and ask your friends to read it. Take advantage of all the opportunities and try to avoid the following common mistakes:
- Poorly checking the paper.
Do not think that you can only check the spelling. Re-read the essay and make sure that there are no ambiguous expressions, weak sentences, and so on.
- Tedious forewords, lack of detail.
Too often, an interesting essay falters because it becomes an enumeration of statements without illustrating them with examples. It is characterized by the usual cliches: the importance of hard work and perseverance, learning from mistakes, and so on.
Essays are limited to a certain number of words, so you need to intelligently dispose of this volume. Sometimes this means giving up ideas or details, especially if they have already been mentioned somewhere or are not directly related to the case. Such things only distract the attention of the reader (listener) and obscure the main topic.
- Long phrases.
The longer the sentence, the better – some say so. However, this is far from the truth. Long phrases do not yet prove the author’s correctness, and short sentences often produce a greater effect. It is best when long phrases alternate with short ones. Try to read the essay aloud. If you feel that you are catching your breath, break the paragraph into smaller paragraphs. When you are done writing, do this exercise. Assign each paragraph a letter: either S (short), or M (medium), or L (long). S – less than 10 words, M – less than 20 words, L – 20 or more words. The following or a similar order of letters is correct: M S M L M S. The following sequence is incorrect: S S S M L L.
- Overloading the essay
When writing, discard words from encyclopedias. Incorrect use of such words distracts the attention of the reader and diminishes the value of your work. Avoiding such common mistakes, you can interest the reader.
Checking Your Essay
There is great value in editing the first version of the essay. When writing a draft, your main task is to develop an argument, refine the basic ideas, and arrange them in a strict sequence, accompanying them with illustrative materials or auxiliary data, etc. After writing the first version, let your essay “rest” for a day or two, and then go back to work on checking and improving it.
When checking, pay attention to the following important points:
- First of all, it is important to remember that the essay is a subjective genre, therefore, its evaluation can be subjective. Do not focus on all at once.
- Presented data:
Regardless of which question you are responding to, you need to achieve certain goals. You are expected that when writing, you will keep in mind the following:
1. Did I answer the question asked?
2. How clear and accurate did I present my thoughts?
3. Does my essay sound natural, and are there any mistakes?
- Communication and writing skills.
Essays are also designed to test your ability to express thoughts on paper and your writing skills. For success, it is important to be able to present your ideas well, and the ability to express them on paper is available to those who easily communicate with other people. A poorly written essay will not help you to gain high grades.
All that you write needs to be confirmed by examples, and to make references. The details will make your essay interesting, unique, specific.
- Distinctive features, uniqueness, and something interesting or funny.
In the opinion of experts, students should not be afraid to go beyond what is permissible; it is better to be themselves. They are often worried about whether they will be able to make the right impression, so they remove everything that makes them outstanding. You do not have to joke to be interesting. However, try to use all the means at your disposal so that your essay will be remembered.
- Literary work.
Professors like essays which are a pleasure to read. Make sure that yours is easy to read, and give it a little more time: check if your thoughts are consistent, whether they lead to a logical conclusion of the topic. Humor is a great tool, but use it wisely. A sarcastic or audacious tone is often annoying. True humor is an art, and it is a sign of good taste.
Where to Find a Definition Essay Sample
Speaking about theory is easier than implementing it in practice. Even if writing a definition essay sounds easy to you, you still can face some troubles when you will start writing it. But just like reading a description of “Mona Lisa” in comparison to seeing it in your own eyes, guidelines for writing the essay won’t replace reading the extended definition essay sample written by professional writers that have vast experience in academic writing.
So, where can you find good resources with definition writing examples? How can you make sure that the resource you choose is reliable and will help you improve your writing skills? And what is the most effective way to use definition essay samples that you find over the internet? All these answers you can read further in the text.
Before you start reading samples, you need to know how to distinguish a good source from a poor one. A source is good when the content on its pages is good. Make sure that you are reading samples from professionals that actually have experience in academic writing.
First you need to make sure that the source you are viewing is reliable enough. You can check the date of publication of samples, read some testimonials from readers, and ask your classmates whether they use this or that website. Conduct a bit of research about the existence of this source. If it was created a couple of moths ago, it can’t be treated as reliable.
Next, you can look through all available sources and evaluate the overall quality of written material. Maybe it will be hard for you to understand whether the text was written by a beginner writer or by a skilled expert. Also, it is a big plus if the source have samples on various topics and mentions the list of cited sources.
Finally, the best source with definition argument essay examples should also present explanatory material. So, if you see a website that presents guidelines and useful tips along with samples, that means that this source cares to cover all material students need to write a good definition essay.
In the following list you can find sources of definition essay samples:
Books. Go to the library and look for collections of sample essays. Usually such books have samples written by tutors and with a high probability deserve a high score. Also you can browse internet sites with books and buy a copy, or borrow it from a classmate. Usually samples that are presented in books offer insights from professional writers and we advise to pick those that have commented essay samples inside.
University official site. Some colleges have a special section on the site that can be accessed only by students. If you are lucky enough, in those resources you can find plenty of guidelines, samples, and tips.
AnswerShark website. We can recommend you our site as a great resource of professionally written essay samples, writing guidelines, tips, and advice. Here you can find inspiration, definition essay topics for college, and step-by-step instructions on how to create a definition essay from scratch. All samples that you can find on this site were completed by experienced academic writers and are totally free of charge. Here you can find popular definition paragraph examples: respect, happiness, love, poetry, etc.
Online writing resources. If you will put words in the search box such as “website with sample essays” you will probably find a list of resources that offers a base of finished essays. For a certain amount of money you can find samples on various topics. But you need to take into consideration the fact that many essays have questionable quality, as many resources accept essays written even from inexperienced students. If the resource itself is interested only in quantity and closes its eyes to quality, you need to understand that such a source will not help you improve your writing skills.
This list is incomplete, and you can find information from other sources, but you always need to check them for quality. Please, consider these points to understand whether the sample is worth reading:
- Mistakes. Take a look at grammar, punctuation, and other errors in the text. Samples written by experienced writers usually have only a few mistakes, if any at all. All the while, the text from a dilettante will be bursting with different mistakes. If you will find out that text has lots of mistakes, awkward structure, or incomplete sentences, that means that you shouldn’t trust such samples.
- Relevance of information. Check the date when the sample was posted. If you can’t find the date it shouldn’t be a big problem. Look through the list of cited works or the reference list and check the sources that were used in the sample. If you will see that the information is out of date and is not relevant for the current date, you can’t rely on this sample. Have you ever seen essays with old statistical information? On the internet you can find hundreds of such essays that seem attractive from the first sight. But when you start reading it and checking information, you will see that information is not relevant. Such samples cannot be a good source of citation, but still you can use the sample’s structure or just find some ideas for your essay.
Maybe you have already read tons of guidelines and sample essays over the internet. But still there is a question: what kind of samples do you prefer – from professional writers or from students? On the one hand, a student that has written the sample essay is in the same boat as you and knows the features of today’s academic writing more than former students. On the other hand, there is a high risk that such samples contain too many mistakes.
What source to choose is entirely up to you. The only thing we can recommend is to pay more attention to extended definition essay examples written by people that have profound knowledge of academic writing. For example, here at AnswerShark, all samples were completed by qualified writers. Every writer has passed tests to prove their knowledge and skills, so you can be confident in the quality of our papers.
How to Use Our Definition Essay Samples
Probably, there is nothing as helpful in essay writing as reading a well-written sample essay. From the sample you can learn a lot and find great ideas to create your own essay.
- Find a topic. When you have difficulties in finding an appropriate topic for a definition essay, samples will work for it! When you see the text for a certain topic you can easily come up with a new, more interesting and thought-out topic for your own writing.
- Use a source for brainstorming. Take a look at a sample essay and broaden your own topic with coming up with new ideas and inspiration. For example, you have picked “love” as a topic. In one definition essay example, love is determined from the perspective of philosophy. In another sample the author treats love from a medical point of view. With the help of samples you will be able to expand your knowledge and create a unique point of view.
- Get a new approach in academic writing. Many experts advise students to write the introduction after they will complete the whole essay, as it is one of the hardest parts of the essay. With the help of sample essays you can see how different authors begin their essays and find out interesting techniques that they have used in the introduction.
- Use a source of citation. You can even paraphrase the most interesting parts of the essay sample. Consider the fact that tutors are suspicious about citing sources from the internet and the better option will be paraphrasing someone’s text than directly citing it. But don’t overuse it; you still need to keep your own point of view about the term.
- Apply a template. Academic papers cannot be written without a template. Students frequently experience difficulties with writing their thoughts logically and coherently. Reading professionally written essays can help you understand the logical flow and avoid losing your mind in the writing process.
To understand the use of a sample better, let’s analyze the following sample of a paper from AnswerShark. The author of this essay has written an extended definition of poetry. Mostly, you will need to define the terms that were already defined in dictionaries, scientific works, and various books. But you still will need to quote those that are close to your own meaning of the term.
Our expert has made some commentaries below each paragraph to help you understand the sample better.
What Is the Definition of Poetry?
Poetry is a form of art and literature written with a unique style and pattern. It is useful in expressing ideas and feelings. The composition of a poem can include verses, patterns, metrical composition, and rhymes. Prose, the opposite genre of poetry, can even contain poetic characteristics. The origin of poetry was during the period of 1350 to 1400. In early Latin, the word “poeta” meant creative literature. Over time, the Latin word developed into the medieval word “poetria,” and finally into its English counterpart, “poetry.” Examples of famous poets over the spectrum of time include William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and the contemporary Maya Angelo (Dictionary.com). 
 This essay starts with a standard opening for a definition essay. It appeals to feelings and ideas to grab the reader’s attention and tune to the poetic mood. Also, the author has given a dictionary definition at the end of the paragraph and listed the types of poetry. Consider the fact that the beginning of the essay doesn’t start with a definition from the dictionary. And we recommend you not to do this either.
 Poetry is a method that includes the participation of the self-conscious person. It magnifies the essences of life. It is personal, often written in the first person, and is written or spoken with an assumed relative propriety. It is used as a tool for the social sciences to better understand the human condition that cannot be measured by scientific means (Monica Prendergast). Conversely, poetry is used as a tool for the poet to have his or her singular voice heard in humanity. For instance, Yeats proclaimed his life “self-delighting,” and his present-day cohort Chen considered himself “self-appeasing” (Burt).
 Here, the writer has established the focus of the essay: the connection of poetry with self-consciousness. Consider the fact that all sentences the author has written from the third person, which is typical for academic essays.
 Poetry finds itself to be a line by line anthology written with symbols, fantasies, dreams, and statements. It exudes dependency, the need for answers, internal desire, eroticism, and the need to know God. All feel these needs but experience it differently. Poetry is superfluous, wonderful, preposterous, and perilous (Burt). Poetry is the voice of all.
 In the concluding part the author has connected the poetry with may states people experience while writing. But for our point of view, the last part cannot be named as a conclusion. Perhaps, the writer should include more ending phrases and sum up the written text from previous parts.
Why You Need to Read Our Definition Essay Examples
In our examples you will discover the elements that have the biggest impact on your score. Here you can learn how the high scoring sample papers look so you can model them and do the same.
First, you will learn from the best samples. As every definition essay on this site was completed by an expert writer, you have a great opportunity to learn new techniques. Compare your writing with works from other people and learn more about the tone, use of transitions, and new terms, all the while improving your vocabulary, and taking in other elements that increase the quality of essay writing.
Next, find the approaches experts use towards the topic. Definition essays usually are written about terms that have no certain definition. An example of definition paragraph about love by one author can dramatically differ from a sample by another author. Viewing someone’s thoughts can help you develop your own approach to the term.
Finally, you can find unique information from other essay samples. For example, from definition essay examples beauty you can pick some essential quotes, look through the works cited list, and make more profound research about this term. You can find a new approach to a general topic in a unique way.
If you need urgent help, please, don’t copy our texts to your writing. If you will do this, your paper can be considered plagiarism. We believe that you are a wise person and that you will use the samples in the right way. We wish you all the best on your path of becoming a great student!