Definition Essay Writing

Definition Essay Topics

Barbara P

150 Best Definition Essay Topics For Students

12 min read

Definition Essay Topics

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Definition Essay Writing: Format, Tips, and Examples

Definition Essay Outline - Writing Guide With Examples

Ever struggled to pick a good topic for your definition essay? You're not alone; it can be a real challenge.

Choosing the right topic isn't just about finding something random. It's about picking one that gets you excited and grabs your reader's attention.

But don't worry! We have got you covered. 

In this blog, you’ll get some great definition essay topics and useful tips on how to choose a definition essay topic. All you have to do is give this article a good read and pick an amazing topic of your interest.

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  • 1. A Closer Look at Definition Essay
  • 2. Definition Essay Topics Ideas
  • 3. Funny Definition Essay Topics
  • 4. Creative Definition Essay Topics 
  • 5. Easy Definition Essay Topics 
  • 6. Good Definition Essay Topics
  • 7. Extended Definition Essay Topics
  • 8. Random Definition Essay Topics
  • 9. Definition Argumentative Essay Topics
  • 10. Controversial Definition Essay Topics
  • 11. How to Choose a Definition Essay Topic?
  • 12. Tips on How to Write a Definition Essay

A Closer Look at Definition Essay

A definition essay is a type of academic writing that defines or explains a word, term, concept, or idea. There are some words that have literal meanings and they are very easy to explain i.e. pencil, table, chair, etc. 

There are some terms that have abstract meanings and are difficult to explain i.e. love, care, emotion, and feelings.

This type of essay includes both the official meanings of the word and the writer's interpretation. This interpretation is supported by examples.

A good definition essay will not exceed one page in length, and it should include 250-500 words. The goal is for the student to expand on a word’s usage. This can be done by explaining other possible concepts of what they are analyzing - this makes them more interesting!

Definition Essay Topics Ideas

When you search over the internet you’ll get plenty of definition essay topics. Having a lot of ideas in hand can make the topic selection process difficult. That is why we have compiled a list of some effective and interesting definition essay topics. 

Check out these creative definition essay topics lists below and choose the best one for your essay.

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Definition Essay Topics for High School Students

  • Identity in the Digital Age
  • Empathy in a Diverse World
  • Global Citizenship
  • Intellectual Curiosity
  • Civic Engagement
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Cultural Fluency
  • Mindfulness in Education
  • Critical Thinking

Definition Essay Topics for College Students

  • What is the meaning of optimism?
  • What does sincerity mean?
  • Love at first sight
  • The true meaning of respect
  • The actual definition of family
  • Define Buddhism
  • Who is a strong leader?
  • What is the actual meaning of ambitions?
  • Define racism in your own words
  • How will you define success?

Definition Essay Topic on Mass Media

  • The evolution of 'news' in the digital age: redefining journalism.
  • The true meaning of 'media bias': navigating perspectives.
  • The influence of 'social media': defining modern connectivity.
  • The power of 'advertising': shaping perceptions and desires.
  • Reality TV: a new definition of 'entertainment'?
  • The impact of 'fake news': deconstructing information manipulation.
  • The definition of 'clickbait': balancing engagement and misleading content.
  • Streaming services: redefining 'television' in the 21st century.
  • The role of 'podcasts' in modern communication: beyond radio.
  • Citizen journalism: broadening the scope of 'media.

Funny Definition Essay Topics

  • Awkward Dancing
  • Chaos Theory
  • Social Media Stalking
  • Mismatched Socks
  • Infinite Scroll
  • Bad Hair Days
  • Pajama Fashion
  • Fast Food Gourmet
  • Napping Olympics
  • Pencil Tossing

Creative Definition Essay Topics 

  • The Essence of Wanderlust: Defining the Spirit of Adventure
  • Epic Fails: The Art and Science of Learning from Mistakes
  • Digital Detox: Navigating Life in the Age of Screens
  • Ambition Redefined: Pursuing Dreams in the Real World
  • Friendship in the Digital Age: The Modern Definition of 'BFF'
  • Mindfulness Unveiled: Embracing the Present Moment
  • Nostalgia: Journeying into the Past Through Rose-Tinted Glasses
  • Resilience: Bouncing Back from Life's Unexpected Twists
  • The Art of Simplicity: Finding Beauty in the Basics
  • Silence Speaks: Exploring the Power of Quiet Moments

Easy Definition Essay Topics 

  • Privacy 
  • Humanity 

Good Definition Essay Topics

  • Describe laziness
  • Define attitude
  • What is magnetism?
  • How do you define attraction?
  • Define human rights
  • What is the meaning of responsibilities?
  • Time management
  • Define health
  • Define class
  • What is the meaning of wealth

Unique Definition Essay Topics

  • The quirkiness of 'fam': exploring unconventional family structures.
  • The essence of 'chill': beyond a relaxing vibe.
  • Defining 'awkward': navigating social discomfort.
  • The true meaning of 'indie': beyond music and film.
  • The 'vibe' culture: capturing the unspoken atmosphere.
  • Decoding 'meme culture': more than just humor.
  • The complexity of 'cool': an ever-changing definition.
  • The 'hacktivist' movement: merging hacking and activism.
  • Retro: nostalgia or a timeless definition?
  • The art of 'hygge': coziness in a single word.

One Word Definition Essay Topics:

  • Sustainability

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Classification and Definition Essay Topics

  • Types of friendship: defining bonds beyond acquaintanceship.
  • Genres of literature: from mystery to science fiction.
  • Learning styles: understanding varied approaches to education.
  • Personality types: navigating the landscape of traits.
  • Cuisine categories: exploring the world through food.
  • Forms of government: beyond democracy and authoritarianism.
  • Music genres: from classical to experimental.
  • Social media users: the diverse landscape of online presence.
  • Educational philosophies: from Montessori to Waldorf.
  • The world of gaming: classifying video game genres.

Simple Definition Essay Topics:

  • Friendship: what does it truly mean to be a friend?
  • Happiness: beyond smiles and laughter.
  • Home: defining the heart of comfort.
  • Success: navigating achievements and fulfillment.
  • Courage: facing fear with grace.
  • Kindness: the power of small acts.
  • Respect: cultivating dignity in interactions.
  • Family: beyond blood ties.
  • Trust: the foundation of genuine connections.
  • Wisdom: gained through experience and reflection.

Extended Definition Essay Topics

  • What does the term freedom mean?
  • Define ownership in your own words
  • What is the meaning of the term character?
  • The current American dream
  • The evolution of the definitions
  • Define experience in your own words
  • What is common sense?
  • Explore the term science
  • What role does a degree play in a student’s life?
  • Time: The Elusive Concept That Shapes Our Lives

Random Definition Essay Topics

  • Small business
  • Masculinity
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Individuality

Definition Argumentative Essay Topics

  • Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Meaning of two sides of a coin
  • Classical music vs. Pop music
  • Friendship vs. Love
  • The Fluid Concept of 'Justice'
  • Equality vs. Equity
  • The Definition of 'Art'
  • Security in the 21st Century
  • Defining 'Fake News' in a Post-Truth Society
  • The Definition of 'Heroism'

Controversial Definition Essay Topics

  • Defining Patriotism: Where Loyalty Ends and Extremism Begins.
  • Freedom of Speech: Navigating the Thin Line Between Expression and Harm.
  • The Slippery Slope of Political Correctness: Balancing Respect and Censorship.
  • The Fluid Boundaries of 'Cultural Appropriation' in Art and Fashion.
  • Gender Identity: Beyond Binary – The Controversy of Pronouns.
  • The Definition of 'Addiction': Disease or Personal Responsibility?
  • Euthanasia: Dignity in Death or Slippery Moral Slope?
  • The Controversy of 'Trigger Warnings': Protecting or Censoring?
  • Defining 'Fake News' in a Post-Truth Era: Information or Manipulation?
  • The Line Between 'National Security' and Invasion of Privacy.

How to Choose a Definition Essay Topic?

The success of your essay majorly depends on the topic. A good topic is a key element in writing a good essay. So when you choose a topic for your essay, keep the following things in mind.

  • Choose a topic that has a broad meaning rather than a literal meaning.
  • Make sure you understand the topic completely.
  • Make sure that the subject should be interesting for you.
  • The topic should be interesting for the reader as well.
  • Choose a word, idea or term that is fresh for the audience.
  • Avoid picking any common topic that the reader is already familiar with.
  • Choose an idea that connects with your target audience.

Choosing a controversial topic is quite easier than choosing a common definition essay topic. As you have a few options to choose from and a little space to write about it. But if you keep the instructions given above in mind, you can easily choose an amazing topic for your essay.

Tips on How to Write a Definition Essay

Here are some tips that you should learn before writing your essay. These steps will help you structure your essay in a proper format.

  • Pick an interesting and unique paper topic.
  • Research the topic thoroughly and collect detailed information about it.
  • Create a definition essay outline , it will help you follow the essay pattern. Without an outline, it is really difficult to craft a good essay according to the format.
  • Tell the exact meaning of your subject in the introduction part. Present the thesis statement that provides a detailed meaning of the essay topic. Your introduction should be able to grab the reader’s attention and make them read the complete essay.
  • In the body paragraphs, provide evidence that supports your personal and dictionary definitions. Elaborate on the topic with the help of your personal experience examples.
  • In the conclusion section, just sum up all the explanations and descriptions. This is akin to closing remarks, so do not provide a fresh idea over here. Provide your close remarks and finish the essay.
  • After writing the essay, spare some time for the proofreading and editing process. Check your essay for spelling and grammatical mistakes. Remove all the errors from the essay to make it flawless.

Definition Essay Structure

Your final definition paper may have a structure similar to this:

  • A copy-pasted or paraphrased definition from the dictionary.
  • Writer’s personal understanding and interpretation of the word. 
  • An example of the usage of the word in a real context. 
  • Supporting evidence justifying the writer’s interpretation of the word.
  • Conclusion summarizing each point briefly. 

In conclusion, our exploration into the world of definition essays has been a journey of discovery. We've dived into the meanings of words, navigated through controversies, and embraced creativity. Words are more than just letters; they have the power to shape thoughts and connect us in unique ways.

This essay writing guide will help you a lot in writing your essay. Make sure you follow the procedure so that you don’t make any mistakes.

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Barbara P

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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Definition Essay

Definition Essay

Definition Essay Topics

Barbara P

Interesting Definition Essay Topics for Students

29 min read

Published on: Mar 22, 2023

Last updated on: Jan 31, 2024

definition essay topics & ideas

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Definition Essay - Writing Guide, Examples and Tips

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Are you looking for an interesting way to explore and explain the meaning of words and phrases? If so, a definition essay may be just the type of writing assignment that you need!

In this essay, you will delve deep into the dictionary to find out what your chosen topic truly means. By considering all aspects of the definition, you can craft an insightful, informative, and creative paper.

To get you started, here is a list of 200 definition essay topics to provide plenty of inspiration!

Continue reading to choose the best option for your essay.

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Definition Essay - Overview

A definition essay is written for a specific purpose. This type of essay has a similar structure to other essays, but it is written to define a term or concept.

The main purpose of the definition essay is to explain a word, phrase, or complex to the reader. To do this, you must study and analyze the concept.

When writing a definition essay, the most important step is choosing a good topic. Topics can be very different, but it is best to choose a topic that allows for creativity and research.

What is the Purpose of a Definition Essay?

A definition essay is a type of essay that seeks to define and explain a concept, term, or idea. The goal of this type of essay is:

  • to explain the meaning of a concept, term, or idea
  • to examine how a concept, term, or idea is defined by different people and groups
  • to analyze the implications of a particular definition

In this type of essay, the writer must research a topic thoroughly to provide an accurate definition and analysis.

How to Choose a Definition Essay Topic?

The first element that contributes to the overall success of your essay is its topic. The topic is the first thing that a reader comes across and analyzes whether to read the document or not.

It may sound simple, but choosing the right topic for your essay can be extremely challenging. Deciding what to select that the audience will be interested in knowing is a tricky job.

The process of selecting the topic for your definition essay is as challenging as the essay’s writing procedure. It is both time-consuming and requires a writer to have strong analyzing skills.

If you have no clue how to come up with an engaging topic, follow the steps provided below:

  • Choose a word that is not too simple and has multiple interpretations.
  • You should have your perspective on the term.
  • Identify the targetted audience. 
  • Come up with an interesting topic.
  • Make sure that the topic is unique and engaging for the audience.

The definition essay topic can be of any sort. Just keep in mind to pick something fascinating.

Good Definition Essay Topics

If the topic chosen is strong and reflects your passion, it will be easier for you to gather information.

Often students find themselves with writer’s block and can not come up with a good topic. If you are in such a position, the list prepared by the expert writers of will help you decide on the paper topic.

Definition Essay Topics for High School

High school students often need to explore the concept of definition in order to better understand the world around them. these topics will help you begin that process:.

  • Importance of having self-respect
  • How does a high school student become more responsible in life?
  • How can a high school student become more creative in his writing?
  • What is kindness?
  • How personality contributes to a successful career?
  • What is charisma, and how important it is for being successful? 
  • What is the meaning of independence to a country?
  • The difference between communism and capitalism 
  • The meaning and origin of terrorism
  • What is the industrial revolution? 

These topics will provide the perfect opportunity to explore the concept of definition and help you create an engaging essay. Writing about these ideas can also stimulate your creativity, as well as encourage critical thinking.

Definition Essay Topics for College Students

College essays often require students to go deeper into the concept of definition. Here are some creative  topics that can help you begin your college essay:

  • What is good mental health?  Discuss its characteristics .
  • Inhumane things in our life
  • The meaning of the word phase in the context of heterogeneous and homogeneous mixtures. 
  • What is an essay outline?
  • What is hatred?
  • Understanding the relationship between demand and supply
  • Causes and effects of inflation
  • Marketing advertising strategies and tools
  • Artificial intelligence 
  • Cons of e-learning

These topics are interesting and engaging, allowing you to explore ideas in a new way. Writing about them can open up new perspectives and help you to create an essay that stands out.

See this example definition essay on happiness . It provides a valuable starting point for reflection and discussion.

Creative Definition Essay Topics

Creativity is an important part of both writing and life in general. Choosing creative topics can allow you to explore new ideas and express your thoughts in unique ways. These ideas can help you create an interesting and engaging essay:

  • How can globalization be described?
  • Traits of a good person
  • What is the definition of the term “white privilege”?
  • What does it mean to become a parent?
  • Characteristics of the “just” system
  • Define what anarchy is.
  • What does the word “femininity” mean to you?
  • What is peer pressure, and how do people get influenced by it?
  • What is a hippie movement?
  • How to understand colonization?

The above topics will allow you to explore the creative process and the importance of creativity in everyday life. Writing about them can help to inspire new ideas and look at familiar topics in a different way.

Definition Essay Topics About Friendship

Friendship is an important part of life, and it can be a powerful source of support and connection. These topics will help you explore the meaning and importance of friendship: 

  • What is the meaning of friendship to you?
  • Who is a genuine friend to you?
  • The role of friends in your life
  • The role of friends in one’s personality
  • Art and friendships
  • How do animals make better friends?
  • What does it mean to be friends with a narcissist?
  • Are friendship and love similar? 
  • My best friend
  • Qualities that make you a good friend

By exploring these topics, you can uncover the hidden meanings and lessons that friendship provides. Writing about them can help to deepen your understanding of how important it is.

Easy Definition Essay Topics for Students

Easy topics can still be interesting, and they are often simpler to write about than complex ones. These ideas are ideal for students who need to write an essay quickly: 

  • How to love yourself?
  • Love of God
  • Does love for money make you selfish?
  • Love and friendship
  • Describe school and college 
  • Abstract concepts
  • Significance of body paragraphs in an essay
  • What is cheating, and what is its impact on a relationship? 
  • Can a person forgive and forget their personal experience?
  • Importance of voting. Should all citizens vote? 

These topics will allow you to explore your understanding of various concepts and ideas.

Definition Essay Topics about Science and Technology

Science and Technology is an ever-growing field and often a source of inspiration for new essay topics.

These interesting ideas to explore when writing a definition essay about science and technology:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Data Science
  • Quantum Computing
  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Space Exploration
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • 3D Printing
  • Biotechnology
  • Nanotechnology

These are just a few examples that could be used as starting points for creating engaging and informative definition essays.

Top Definition Essay Topics about Love

Love is a complex emotion that can have different meanings depending on the person. It can be enlightening and help to express your feelings.

These ideas are great starting points for exploring this subject in an essay:

  • What does it mean to love someone?
  • What does it mean to love something?
  • Define the feeling of love
  • Love vs. hatred
  • The love of parents
  • Love and other emotions that can dominate people
  • Why is love the most powerful feeling in the world?
  • Loving your pets
  • Love of grandparents 
  • The consequences of passionate love 

These topics will help to explore the complexity of love and its many facets.

Definition Essay Topics on Society

The world is full of injustice, discrimination, and inequality. When writing a definition essay on these topics, consider how they are often used to define our society and its values.

Here are some ideas to explore:

  • Gender Roles
  • Social Class
  • Education System
  • Political Activism
  • Cultural Identity
  • Discrimination
  • Gay Marriage

These topics offer a great opportunity to explain important concepts and discuss issues of social justice. Writing about them can be an eye-opening experience for both the author and the readers.

Definition Essay Topics on Family and Happiness

Family and happiness are two of the most important things in life. It can help to illustrate their true importance, as well as how they are intertwined.

Check these amazing ideas for topics related to these concepts:

  • Family Values
  • The Meaning of Love
  • Parenting Styles
  • Supportive Relationships
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Positive Thinking
  • Finding Inner Peace

These topics can be quite complex to write about, as they often require thoughtful consideration of personal values. However, they can also provide an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.

Definition Essay Topics about History

History is full of lessons and important moments that should never be forgotten. Exploring them through writing can help to bring them into the present day.

These topics offer a great starting point for exploring the past:

  • Civil Rights
  • Immigration
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • The Great Depression
  • World War II
  • The Cold War
  • Globalization
  • The Fall of Communism
  • The Rise of Democracy
  • The War on Terror

These topics are great for understanding how civilizations have evolved over time. It can provide valuable insights into our world today. Writing about them can help to remind us of the importance of history in our lives.

Random Definition Essay Topics

Sometimes, it’s difficult to come up with interesting topics for an essay. If you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about, why not choose a random topic?

Here are some ideas:

  • The Meaning of Success
  • Time Management
  • The Nature of Emotions
  • Friendship in the Digital Age
  • The Power of Social Media
  • The Psychology of Dreams
  • The Role of Religion in Society
  • Exploring Cultural Differences
  • Exploring the Unknown
  • Finding Motivation in Life

These topics can be both fun and thought-provoking, offering a great opportunity to explore different ideas. Writing about them can help to broaden your perspective and inspire new ideas.

Great Definition Essay Topics on Sports

Sports is a popular topic for definition essays. It covers both the physical and mental aspects of the game.

These topics will help to get you started:

  • The Psychology of Winning
  • Teamwork and Leadership
  • Sports Injuries
  • Health Benefits of Sports
  • Coaching Styles
  • Mental Toughness
  • Competing for Gold
  • Olympic Dreams
  • Fantasy Sports Leagues
  • Leadership in Sports

The essay topics will allow you to explore the history and development of sports over time.

Definition Essay Topics on Mass Media 

Mass media plays an important role in modern society and can shape public opinion. Exploring these topics can be a great way to understand the power of media and the ways it influences our lives.

Get creative with these brilliant ideas:

  • The Rise of Social Media
  • Exploring Censorship
  • The Role of News in Society
  • Political Influence Through Media
  • The Power of Advertising
  • Exploring Reality vs. Perception
  • The Impact of Technology on Media
  • Fake News and Misinformation
  • The Influence of Pop Culture
  • Creating Engaging Content

Choose any of the above topics and explore how mass media affects society in a variety of ways.

Definition Essay Topics on Politics

Politics is a complex and often controversial topic, which makes it a great choice for definition essays.

Get your inspiration flowing with these out-of-the-box concepts:

  • The Role of Government
  • Exploring Political Ideologies
  • The Origins of Anarchism
  • The Power of Voting
  • The Impact of Social Movements
  • Political Activism and Protesting
  • Exploring the Influence of Money on Politics
  • Election Campaigns and Strategies
  • The Role of Media in Politics
  • Globalization and Its Impact on Politics

Pick any one of these topics to explore how politics shapes our lives in a variety of ways.

Definition Essay Topics on Philosophy

Philosophy is a great topic to discuss. It can cover a wide range of topics from the meaning of life to morality and ethics. Writing about this subject can be both interesting and thought-provoking.

These are some brilliant ideas to get you started:

  • Exploring Different Religious Beliefs
  • The Meaning of Life
  • The Role of Ethics in Society
  • Examining the Nature of Truth
  • Exploring Different Philosophical Schools
  • The Power of Reason and Logic
  • The Impact of Philosophy on Education
  • Exploring Morality and Its Consequences
  • Discussing the Principles of Freedom

To explore different philosophical views and their impact, choose any one of these topics and write an engaging essay.

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Definition Argument Essay Topics

Argumentative essays require you to pick a side of an argument and defend it. These topics will help you explore the definition of arguments and develop strong writing skills.

  • Pros and cons of using the internet in schools
  • What does it mean to have two sides to the picture?
  • Importance of the death penalty 
  • Causes and effects of alcoholism
  • Why do people do drugs, and how do they get influenced?
  • What do pro-choice and pro-life stand for?
  • Causes and Effects of Global Warming
  • What is cloning? Is it ethical?
  • What is patriotism?  
  • Racial segregation 

These topics will help you understand the dynamics of arguments and how to form your own opinion on a certain subject.

Extended Definition Essay Topics 

Extended definition essays allow you to expand on a concept or idea. These topics will give you the opportunity to explore various definitions, as well as think outside of the box:

  • What is a healthy weight?
  • What is a balanced diet?
  • Measures of punishment parents should take 
  • Differences between self-development and self-management. 
  • How does the FBI violate the basic rights of the citizens?
  • How badly do coaches influence the performance of a player?
  • Define the term frenemy 
  • Characteristics that make a person selfish
  • How to cope with laziness?
  • Is bravery the same as courage?

You can also use these topics to explore the creative writing process by crafting your own unique definition of a topic.

Funny Definition Essay Topics

Writing about humorous topics can allow you to explore the lighter side of life. These ideas can help you create an essay that is sure to get a laugh:

  • What are dreams? Do animals also dream?
  • Is the customer always right?
  • How to get fewer photographs?
  • Should successful business people help those who are new in business?
  • Define the best holiday
  • What is fun for you?
  • Is money a source of happiness
  • What is contemporary art to you? 
  • Why do we not feel that the earth is moving?
  • Is watching tv a way to relax?

These topics will bring a smile to your reader's faces and make them think about the lighter side of life. 

Controversial Definition Essay Topics 

Controversial topics can help stimulate the discussion, as well as make your essay stand out. These ideas should be used to explore controversial notions and discuss different opinions on a certain topic:

  • What is a thesis statement? 
  • What is multiculturalism?
  • Who is a hero?
  • What is Feminism? 
  • What is being lazy? Is it a good trait? 
  • Smartphones Vs. traditional cellular phones 
  • Gothic romanticism 
  • How can bravery be defined?
  • What is passion?
  • What is cultural diversity?

These topics will help you explore controversial notions, as well as think critically about the issues surrounding them. Writing on these topics can be an interesting and thought-provoking experience. 

Abstract Definition Essay Topics

Abstract definition essay topics help to explore concepts that are too abstract for a traditional definition essay.

These topics will allow you to think outside the box and go beyond conventional ideas:

  • What is wisdom, and how is it different from knowledge?
  • What is trust, and how to win it?
  • Does honesty mean always telling the truth?
  • How can generosity be defined? 
  • How can poverty be eradicated?
  • Are Europeans civilized? 
  • How are sweets better than fruits?
  • Is it possible for humans to live without the internet?
  • How to quit drinking? 
  • How will you define the term freedom?

The abstract definition essay topics discussed will help you explore complex concepts and go beyond surface-level definitions. 

Definition Essay Structure

When it comes to writing a definition essay, there is a standard structure that you must follow.

The main steps for writing a definition essay are:

  • Introduction - Introduce your topic and provide brief background information
  • Definition – Give the definition of the term
  • Body Paragraphs – Support your definition with examples
  • Conclusion – Summarize your essay and restate the definition

By following this simple structure, you can write an effective definition essay that will engage your reader.

Steps to Write Definition Essay

To write a great definition essay, you should follow these steps:

  • Select a Term – Choose the term that you want to define. Make sure it is complex enough for an in-depth discussion.
  • Research Your Topic – Gather information from reliable resources such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, or even interviews with experts.
  • Structure Your Essay – Create an outline for your essay to ensure it has a logical flow. Check all necessary parts are included.
  • Write Your Introduction – Introduce the term you will be defining and provide brief background information on the subject.
  • Give the Definition – Provide a clear and concise definition of the term.
  • Support Your Definition – Use examples and evidence to support your definition.
  • Write a Conclusion – Summarize your essay and restate the definition.

By following these steps, you can write an effective definition essay that will provide readers with a clear understanding.

Need help with definition essay outline ? Our blog is here to provide some insight and guidance!

Tips on How to Write a Definition Essay?

Writing a definition essay can be tricky, but here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Choose a concept first: Start by selecting the word that you want to define and use it throughout your essay.
  • Do proper research: Research on the chosen word in order to have a full understanding of its meaning and different interpretations. Use reliable sources such as dictionaries, research papers and published articles.
  • Create an outline: Map out the structure of your essay by organizing your ideas in an outline. This will help you determine what points to include in your paper and where to place them for maximum effect.
  • Introduce the term: At the beginning of your essay, provide a clear and concise definition of the term. This should be followed by a brief explanation of your points in relation to the word or concept.
  • Support your claims: Include evidence from credible sources to back up the claims.
  • Conclude with a summary: Provide a clear and concise summary of your essay. This should include a restatement of the term and its definition.
  • Proofread and edit: Ensure that your essay is free from any errors by proofreading and editing it before submitting it. This will help to improve the quality of your writing and make for a more enjoyable reading experience.

Following these tips can help you write an effective definition essay. It provides meaningful insights into its various interpretations.

To wrap it all,

Writing a definition essay or all other essays in academic life is essential. If you wish to achieve good grades, make sure your essays are high-quality , well-drafted, and structured.

If you doubt y our writing skills and have no clue where to start, get professional help. At, our qualified subject experts offer the best definition essay writing service , providing 100% customized essays written from scratch.

Simply contact our custom essay service  and place your order at the most affordable prices.

Plus, if you need a quick idea for a definition essay on a specific topic, you can try out out AI essay writer . Input your topic and requirements and let it generate a complete essay for you.

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Barbara is a highly educated and qualified author with a Ph.D. in public health from an Ivy League university. She has spent a significant amount of time working in the medical field, conducting a thorough study on a variety of health issues. Her work has been published in several major publications.

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topics to write a definition essay on

topics to write a definition essay on

How to Write a Definition Essay: New Guide with Samples

topics to write a definition essay on

Have you ever found it difficult to explain certain words or ideas? That's because understanding them isn't always easy. To avoid confusion, it's important to really understand the words we use and be able to explain them well.

That's why teachers often assign definition essays in high school and college. But these essays aren't just about repeating dictionary definitions. They dive deep into complex terms, exploring their rich backgrounds and meanings.

In this article, our rewrite essay service will cover different types of these papers, give you practical tips for writing them, and even provide examples to simplify this journey for you!

What is a Definition Essay

A definition essay is a type of writing assignment where you explain the meaning of a specific word or concept. Instead of just giving a simple definition from the dictionary, you dive deeper into what the word really means and explore its different aspects.

For instance, if you're tasked with defining 'success,' you might discuss what success means to different people, how it can vary based on cultural or societal norms, and whether it's purely based on achievements or encompasses personal fulfillment as well.

The purpose of writing definition essays in school is multifaceted. Firstly, it helps you refine your understanding of language by encouraging you to analyze words more critically. It also fosters your ability to think deeply and express complex ideas clearly. Additionally, it cultivates your skills in research, as you may need to gather evidence and examples to support your interpretation of the word or concept. Now that we've cleared the definition essay meaning, let's explain its common types in detail.

Definition Essay Examples

Here's a definition essay example from our custom essay service to help you understand what a good paper looks like. Take a look at how it's structured and formatted if you want to use it as a reference for your own work. And if you're interested, you can always buy essay cheap and get high-quality paper from our platform anytime.

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Commonly Used Definition Essay Types

When choosing an intriguing term with a rich historical background for your definition essay, it's essential to carefully consider your options and determine the most effective approach. Here are some common types, as suggested by our dissertation writing help :

Commonly Used Definition Essay Types

  • Analysis : Break down the topic into its constituent parts and define each part separately.
  • Classification : Determine the categories under which the topic can be classified.
  • Comparison : Highlight the uniqueness of the topic by comparing and contrasting it with more common subjects.
  • Details : Identify the key traits and distinctive qualities that best encapsulate the central idea of your essay.
  • Negation : Clarify what your topic is, not to narrow down its definition.
  • Origins and Causes : Explore the historical origins and background of the concept, examining where it first appeared and any relevant historical details.
  • Results, Effects, and Uses : Discuss the consequences, effects, and practical applications of the subject matter.

How to Write a Definition Essay

Just like with any writing, a definition essay structure involves an introduction, body, and conclusion. But what makes it interesting is what you explore in the body paragraphs.

For example, you could organize your definition essay outline by discussing the term from various angles. Start with a personal anecdote or story that illustrates the term in action. Then, provide a definition from a reputable source like a textbook or scholarly article. Next, consider interviewing people from different backgrounds to get their perspectives on the term. You could also analyze how the term has evolved over time, looking at historical examples or cultural shifts. Finally, offer your own interpretation of the term, drawing on your own experiences and insights.

For a more in-depth guide on writing a definition essay, let's explore the following sections provided by our experienced research paper writer .

Definition Essay Introduction

In the beginning stages of a definition essay, your reader gets their first taste of what your topic entails. It's crucial that this introduction is both informative and captivating, setting the stage for the rest of your essay. Here's what you need to include:

  • Start with something attention-grabbing, like a thought-provoking question or an interesting fact.
  • Provide a brief overview of the topic and why it's important to define it.
  • Clearly state the term you're defining and your interpretation of it.

Definition Essay Body Paragraphs

In your essay, break down the phrase into its different parts, look at it from various angles, and then provide a relevant explanation. Depending on what your assignment calls for, you might need more than three paragraphs. Feel free to mix up the order or add sections depending on how complex the term is. Here are some ideas for what you can include:

  • Start by talking about where the term came from and how it has changed over time. Understanding its origins can give insight into its meaning and significance.
  • Look up the official definition of the term and compare it to your own understanding. This can help clarify any differences and give a broader perspective.
  • Share your own thoughts and interpretation of the term, using examples or stories to illustrate your point. Your personal experiences can add depth and context to your analysis.
  • Find a definition or explanation from an expert or scholar in the field and discuss how it aligns or differs with your own perspective. This can provide credibility and further insight into the term.
  • Explore how the term is used in popular culture and what it reveals about societal values and beliefs. This can shed light on how the term is understood and interpreted in different contexts.

Definition Essay Conclusion

In the concluding paragraph, you should tie everything together neatly. Here's how you can structure your conclusion:

  • Remind the reader of your main points and why the definition of the term is important.
  • Highlight how having a clear understanding of the term can influence our thoughts and actions. This is where you show the broader significance of your analysis.
  • Encourage your audience to apply the term accurately in their own discussions and advocate for precision in defining terms within their communities. This empowers readers to take action based on what they've learned.

Tips for Definition Essay Writing Process

Now that we're nearing the end, you might have already grasped how to write a definition essay. However, if you still feel like you're threading a needle while wearing mittens, fear not! Our essay writer has laid out some nifty guidelines to help you ace this challenge:

How to Write a Definition Essay

  • Choose a term with depth, something that's not ordinary but has a rich backstory and multiple meanings. Think of it like picking a word that's like a Russian nesting doll – there's plenty to explore.
  • Use vivid language to paint a picture that engages the senses. For instance, when talking about 'love,' describe the warmth of a hug, the sweetness of Valentine's chocolates, or the sound of laughter with a partner. It helps your readers feel like they're right there with you.
  • Explore both the positive and negative associations of your term. Words aren't simple; they come with different meanings. For example, 'power' can mean strength and influence but can also be linked to negative things like abuse and control.
  • Use real-life examples to make your points clear in your definition essay. Whether you're talking about successful people from different fields or sharing stories that illustrate 'love,' concrete examples help readers understand.
  • Be creative with your approach. Use metaphors, illustrations, or humor to keep things interesting. Remember, it's your essay – make it come alive!

Final Words

As we wrap up, we trust you've grasped the ins and outs of how to write a definition essay and feel inspired to tackle your own. Nobody wants to be left scratching their head over complex topics, right? So why not leverage our academic writing assistance to your advantage? Whether you need help brainstorming extended topics, crafting a sharp analytical piece, or any other form of writing, we've got you covered. Say goodbye to confusion and ignorance – Order essay and let us guide you toward clarity and knowledge.

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topics to write a definition essay on

Definition Essay Topics

topics to write a definition essay on

But writing an effective definition essay requires exploring the nuances of a word and explaining it from several different perspectives. Confused? Don’t worry, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to write a high scoring definition essay. 

What is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay is a common writing assignment in schools and universities. Put simply, It asks a student to choose a word and define it in-depth. The common dictionary definition is the first thing to state (in your own words), then the lesser-known meanings of the concept, followed by personal anecdotes and opinions further explaining the word. 

These assignments usually have word limits of up to 500 words. There are two main difficulties, either finding a definition essay topic to write 500 words about or fitting a lengthy and complex definition into the word limit. 

Some words are concrete concepts like clothes, telescope, or computer which may seem simple to write about but are ill-suited topics for a definition essay, while others are abstract like morality, envy, or justice which are much better because they allow for a more nuanced essay.  

Writing a successful definition essay means exploring a word more deeply than just stating its definition. The goal is to show a deep understanding of the chosen word or concept. Choosing the right word is crucial to writing a successful definition essay.

The overall structure of a definition paper is the same as any essay. Just remember that each body paragraph should explain the term in a different way.

How to Choose a Definition Essay Topic

Choosing the right topic can make or break your essay. What is a good topic for a definition essay? Concrete concepts may seem easy to write about, but they often defeat the purpose of the assignment by not letting the writer show their critical thinking and writing skills. 

An abstract concept with disputed meanings or definition essay topics with multiple meanings will give you enough to write about, but choose something specific rather than broad. Paranoia is a better definition essay topic choice than just the concept of fear in general. Remember, you have to find a concept that you know enough to write about, but also one that you can fully explain in about 500 words or so.

Avoid choosing a noun about a place, person, or thing since they are concrete concepts and might not give you enough to write about. An abstract noun, referring to an idea and adjectives are better choices for a definition essay topic. For example, gaming rather than console.

Choose a word that you already have some information about or feel passionate about. The better you know the concept, the easier it will be to write.

Answering some questions will help you understand and decide on a word.

What is the Origin of the Word?

What are the roots of the word? What do the roots mean? How did the modern meaning of the word come to be? Understanding the roots of a word can give you insight into what the word truly means and be excellent research for your essay.

What is the Context of the Word?

Does the word mean the same thing in different contexts? It’s quite possible that the word means different things in different places, or that there are multiple meanings to the word that you aren’t aware of.

What are the Previous Versions of the Word?

The meanings of words tend to change over time. Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes it’s drastic. Tracking the previous meaning of the word will give you insight into the evolution of its meaning. 

What is the Common Modern Usage of the Word?

The way the word is used today should be the main explanation. By doing the research you make sure that you aren’t working with an outdated concept of the word.

Just because you now know how to choose a topic for your definition essay doesn’t mean that examples won’t be helpful. Here’s a list of 100 good definition essay topics across several categories.

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Definition Essay Topics List by Category

Extended definition essay topics.

An extended definition essay has essentially the same purpose as a definition essay except it asks you to analyze the term even more deeply and gives you the opportunity to incorporate additional personal opinion. You can pinpoint the exact meaning of a term and explain why other meanings may be incorrect. Analyze the word by identifying its antonym (opposite). Delve deeper into the history and roots of the word to back your interpretations etc. The topic of an extended definition needs to be chosen carefully because there needs to be enough complexity to work with. Have a look at these definition essay topic ideas.

The difference between a “Novel” and other pieces of long-form writing.
Why poverty means different things in different countries
Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?
My experiments with truth 
Does faith actually require a leap?
The different forms of love
Is there really something as an “Ideal” form of something?
Why a home is more than a house
A stirring inside: Music
When are humans not acting?

Good Definition Argument Essay Topics

There are always going to be people on multiple sides of an issue. An argument definition essay gives you the chance to convince the reader of your perspective on a controversial or ill-defined concept. It lets you state what you feel and what side you’re on. Take a look at these topics for an argument definition essay.

Conspiracy theories are just as valid as mainstream theories
Deep dish versus New York: What makes a pizza a pizza?
Is emotional infidelity as bad as cheating?
Science fiction is the best literary genre
Sports are the ideal hobby
Is corporate social responsibility done for the wrong reasons?
The death penalty: Justice or arrogance?
Does secular mean all-inclusive or completely non-inclusive?
The difference between a freedom fighter and a rebel is which side wins
Patient care: A doctor who’s nice or a doctor who’s effective?

Definition Essay Topics for College

Definition essays assigned in college are expected to be masterfully written with nuance and subtle understanding of the concept being explored. The following are 10 examples of definition essay topics for college.

Is college the best path to upward social mobility?
Does maturity mean different things at different stages of life?
A personal account of personal independence 
The misery of loneliness
How to define success
Bullying doesn’t end in high school, it evolves
Homesick for the very first time
The joy of self-determination 
The importance of time management
Changing concepts of the self 

Funny Definition Essay Topics

A definition essay can be a fantastic opportunity to showcase your wit! You can choose to play with an amusing concept, or explore an idea from an interesting viewpoint. Get inspired by the following topics.

Puppy love: How a dog feels about its master
Why dork is a worse insult than you think
Wrench: A useful tool? Or to take something away?
Lit: Not about candles anymore
I speak sarcasm
Facebook: Social media for old-timers
I think my dads going through a midlife crisis
Jokes for children and why they aren't funny anymore
Why a Lorry is not a truck
French fries weren’t invented in France

Controversial Definition Essay Topics

Writing about things you’re passionate about is a good decision when writing a definition essay. These controversial topics should ignite your passion, just make sure that you don’t get too carried away!

Vaccines have changed the course of humanity
War, what is it good for?
What is the purpose of incarceration?
Is happiness overrated?
Why being sad doesn’t mean being depressed
Gaming doesn’t rot your brain
Is it still addiction without a physical dependency?
Romantic love is a modern concept
Globalist is actually a compliment
Why nationalism is bad

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Abstract Definition Essay Topics

Abstract topics for definition essay can be simple or incredibly complex. They give you the freedom to give your own interpretation (backed by supporting arguments) on words that have a fluid meaning. 

Honor is valued differently by people 
What does freedom mean for a refugee?
Schadenfreude: Pleasure at the misfortune of others
Compassion is the most valuable human trait 
I’m the best at being humble
The speed of thought
Boredom: A state of mind 
Why friendship means more than family 
Humour is the best medicine
Spotting a charismatic person

Easy Definition Essay Topics

It’s completely fine If you don’t want to explore a complicated concept or you just want something easy to write about. Give the words dictionary definition, explain the perception of the word, and then add your personal thoughts. Feel free to use some of these good topics for a definition essay.

What makes a house a home?
Why vacations are important
Laughter is the best medicine
What family means to me?
What is democracy?
Popularity and why it’s important
My connection with worship
What exactly is science?
Why is a beach the perfect place to be?
Dancing is freedom

Definition Essay Topics on Love, Poetry, and Music

A topic that you feel emotional about is always a good choice, and nothing inspires passion more than love, poetry, and music. 

Love: Pleasure through pain
Why plutonic love is the purest form of love
The fascinating ways love is expressed in different cultures
Poetry: Words that pull at the heart
Why poetry has always been admired
Do rap lyrics count as poetry?
Music: A language that every human speaks
Explaining different tastes in music
Music as the first form of human communication
The connection between dance and music

Definition Essay Topics on History, Politics, and Governance

Writing a definition essay about things you’re interested in or studying cut down on a lot of research time and can be more enjoyable. Or maybe your teacher assigned the general topic, in any case, here are some examples!

If history is written by the winners, do we really truly know what happened?
Are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past?
What is personal history?
The perception of politics in different places in the world
The origin of politics in early human civilizations
Politics: One for all or all for one?
Was the feudal system a form of social governance?
The changing role of governance in the 2020s
Governance: Serving the people or feeding one’s ego
The difference between politics and governance 

Definition Essay Topics on Economics, Business, IT, and Commerce

If you’re aspiring to join the business world or want an MBA, you’ll have to know the definitions and complexities of many terms. A lot of concepts in economics, business, IT, and commerce are abstract and ill-defined, which makes them perfect for a definition essay. Have a look at some of these topic examples. 

Is scarcity an artificial construct?
What does economic freedom really mean?
Economics in the middle ages
Business ethics in a globalized world
Is there a connection between busyness and business?
What makes a person a businessman?
The origins of the word “programming’
What information technology meant in the 1980s
Is free-market trade good for the world?
How monetary supply affects day to day life
This list of definition essay topics examples should set you on the right track! 

Things to Keep in Mind

The structure of a definition essay is the same as any other essay. The challenge is in describing a word or concept in a compelling way while showing in-depth understanding. Choosing the right definition essay topics are the most important element of writing a successful definition essay. Here’s a summary of how to make sure you’ve chosen an appropriate topic

  • An abstract concept is better than a concrete concept
  • Make the term specific rather than broad
  • The word should have multiple meanings
  • A word with disputed meaning is a good choice
  • Choose a word that has a different meaning based on the context
  • Select a topic that you already understand well
  • Choose a term that you feel passionately about
  • Identify the origins of the word
  • Look into previous versions of the word
  • Track the history of the word

If you are looking for assistance with your academic writing, Studyfy is a comprehensive platform that offers a range of services to suit your needs. Whether you require history essay help , need someone to write my philosophy essay , or seek support with term paper writing service or nursing paper writing service , Studyfy can provide you with the necessary assistance. Additionally, if you need help with a definition essay, whether it be finding example topics or receiving help from essay editors and online proofreading services, Studyfy is the one-stop solution for all your academic needs. With the support of Studyfy's essay writing service online , you can produce high-quality papers and showcase your writing skills with confidence.

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Top 200 definition essay topics for all.

April 20, 2021

definition essay topics

Essay writing can be hard if you don’t have the right essay topics. Most students need to make sure they choose a topic that they can adequately research, organize, and write about. A definition essay is a type of writing assignment that asks students to define a term, concept, or idea. Students cannot just provide a dictionary definition; students must extend the definition using well-thought examples. This list of definition essay topics covers a variety of areas. The topics are free to use and share with others.

Easy Definition Essay Topics

Students that learning how to write these types of essays should stick with a simple topic for definition essay that they can easily research and write about. Any student at the middle school or high school level should have no trouble working on the following:

  • What is trust essay
  • What is the definition of hatred?
  • What is the meaning of laziness?
  • What does it mean to be a first-world country?
  • What is the meaning of democracy?
  • What does it mean to be a hero?
  • What is the definition of a charismatic personality?
  • What is the definition of respecting one’s elders?
  • What is the definition of friendship?
  • What does it mean to be a coward?
  • What is the definition of jealousy?
  • What is the definition of being academically successful?
  • What is the definition of being a good student?
  • What is the definition of a good pet?
  • What is the bad way of breaking up with a partner?
  • What is the easiest way to change the oil on your car?
  • What does it mean to have a hit song?
  • What is meant by achieving academic success?
  • What does it mean to be a good student?
  • What do humans need to do to achieve peace?

Good Definition Paper Topics

A great definition essay topic should not pose difficult situations for students. Students can write about something they are familiar with and research what they are most comfortable with:

  • What makes a person kind or mean?
  • How does one define charisma in the 21 st century?
  • What does it mean to have a bad sense of humor?
  • What does it mean to love somebody unconditionally?
  • When athletes claim a person is a team player, what does it mean?
  • What does it mean to be optimistic during a pandemic?
  • What does it mean to be pessimistic during a pandemic?
  • What is the current definition of natural beauty?
  • What was the definition of beauty in the 1960s?
  • How does one give respect in the modern world?
  • What is the definition of happiness in today’s society?
  • What does it mean to have the dedication to succeed?
  • What is meant when experts warn of an economic recession?
  • What is meant when people achieve academic success?
  • What is meant by events that are from an “Act of God”?
  • What is meant when people find the perfect relationship?
  • How does one offer support to a loved one?
  • What is meant by alcoholic dependence?
  • What is the definition of entrepreneurship?
  • What is the definition of a professional internship?

Argument of Definition Topics

Some of the best topics for definition essay deal with everyday debates. These are the things people talk about often and make for great argumentative assignments:

  • What are the likely programming languages of the future?
  • What impact has the internet had on communication?
  • What are the characteristics of a government bailout?
  • What are the pros and cons of online learning?
  • What are the characteristics of an economic package?
  • What does it mean for a government to buy out a corporation?
  • What is the meaning of a good work ethic?
  • What are the characteristics managers use to hire employees?
  • What is meant by a generational talent in sports?
  • What does it mean to be artistic or creative?
  • What does it mean to create good art?
  • What is the meaning of a good soundtrack?
  • What is meant by having good common sense?
  • What does it mean to be a good professional athlete?
  • What does it mean to pay respect to others?
  • What is the definition of a dynasty in professional sports?
  • What does it mean to have the latest technology in business?
  • How does one provide child support in today’s economy?
  • How does one achieve true leadership?
  • What does it mean to be a loving parent?

Great Hot Topics Definition

The following topics for a definition essay work well for assignments you have about a week or two to complete. You can find ample information on the web, but you should rely more on academic resources you find at the library:

  • What does it mean to be addicted to pain medications?
  • How is veritable leadership defined in the workplace?
  • How is society progress defined in today’s world?
  • What is the meaning of eternal forgiveness in societies?
  • How do people exhibit respect and equality toward others?
  • What does it mean to be objective to art?
  • What does it mean to be loyal to one’s parents?
  • How does one explain racism to a child?
  • What is the definition of bigotry?
  • When can a political system for punishment be called just?
  • What is the definition of good parenting?
  • When is a child considered well-behaved?
  • What is the definition of a patriarchal system?
  • How is feminism defined in the 21 st century?
  • What does it mean to be a feminist in today’s world?
  • What is the difference between masculinity and femininity?
  • What does it mean to be a good parent?
  • What is the definition of being a good person?
  • What does gender equality mean?
  • What does it mean to be a third-world country?

Controversial Topics Definition

These topics for definition essays are controversial and will certainly gain a lot of attention. Be sure you commit enough time to find great resources that will back up your definitions:

  • What are the responsibilities of a first-world country?
  • What makes students lose interest in academic work?
  • What is the definition of a fun time at prom?
  • What does it mean to be a consenting adult?
  • What does it mean to have the perfect body?
  • How should the media portray young females on television?
  • What is meant by having the perfect relationship?
  • What is the meaning of a perfect marriage?
  • What is the definition of an extended family?
  • What does it mean to be mentally challenged?
  • What does it mean to have perfect children?
  • What constitutes cheating in a relationship?
  • What is the definition of a common-law marriage?
  • What is needed to get an annulment in the U.S.?
  • What is the definition of an arranged marriage?
  • What is the definition of an immediate family?
  • What is the meaning of a hit musical record?
  • What is the meaning of international diplomacy?
  • What constitutes an unfair criminal trial?
  • What does it mean to be sexually mature?

Definition Essay Topics for College

As students become more familiar with this type of assignment and as they advance to higher academic levels, they will need to choose good definition essay topics that meet or surpass the standards of their instructors’ expectations. Here is a list targeted toward college-level students:

  • What is the definition of academic sabotage?
  • What does it mean to cheat on a test?
  • What does it mean to develop mental strength?
  • What is the meaning of academic stress?
  • What does it mean to colonize a foreign territory?
  • What is the meaning of good fashion sense?
  • What is the meaning of good taste in music?
  • What is the definition of a rebellion?
  • What does it mean to be heroic in today’s world?
  • What is the definition of heroism in a technology-driven world?
  • What do people mean when they say gambling addiction?
  • What does it mean to have internet privacy?
  • What does it mean to protest in the 21 st century?
  • What is the meaning of constitutional rights?
  • What does it mean to have independence from parents?
  • What is meant when the media talks about white privilege?
  • What defines a terrorist threat?
  • What is meant when people refer to domestic terrorism?
  • What does feminism mean in the 21 st century?
  • What can be defined as a modern revolution?

Definition Speech Topics

These definition essay topics examples can be used for both speech presentations and written assignments. They are perfect for all academic levels and are relatively easy to research using online and print resources:

  • What does it mean to be a good parent in a technology-based world?
  • What does it mean to give children their privacy?
  • What does it mean to apologize to one’s children?
  • What does it mean to give children freedom in today’s world?
  • What does it mean to have a cultural history?
  • What is the definition of accountability?
  • What is meant by the term “teacher’s pet”?
  • What does it mean to be connected to one’s heritage?
  • What does it mean to have a fair election?
  • What does it mean to be a good role model for your kids?
  • What does it mean to be a good role model for society?
  • What is meant by a morally just act of war?
  • What defines a justified military attack on a city?
  • What does it mean to be addicted to caffeine?
  • What is the definition of an inappropriate teacher-student relationship?
  • What are the major causes of global warming?
  • What is the reasoning behind human cloning?
  • What were the major characteristics of the 60s hippie movement?
  • What is the meaning of independent sovereignty?
  • What is meant by the perfect poker hand?

Funny Definition Essay Topics

There are many occasions where using humor is a great way of handling definition topics. Students can often write freely without having to do much research. Here is a list that may be suitable for these occasions:

  • What is the definition of being a bad tourist?
  • What are the characteristics of a poser?
  • What is a kind of music you are embarrassed to hear?
  • What does it mean to help the upper class?
  • Which season is the best one for slacking off?
  • Which is the best type of pet?
  • What is the hardest subject in school?
  • What is the definition of dark humor?
  • What can be expected from next year’s television programs?
  • What was the hardest part about wearing masks during quarantine?
  • Why don’t we feel our planet rotating around the sun?
  • Why can’t cough people cough and sneeze at the same time?
  • What is the reason we haven’t come into contact with aliens?
  • What makes it hard for us to be polite to others?
  • What is the meaning of slapstick humor?
  • What does it mean to be rich in life?
  • What makes for a good television sitcom?
  • What does it mean to be a typical tourist?
  • What do people mean when people roll their eyes?
  • What is the definition of ironic comedy?

Creative Definition Essay Topics

Some of the best essays come from a careful selection of definition paper topics. Creative essay ideas and challenge students is a great way of attracting attention and earning a high score on an assignment:

  • What does it mean to be poor?
  • What defines a historical figure?
  • What is the definition of offensive language?
  • What is meant by the term social anarchist?
  • What does it mean to live in a monarchy?
  • What does it mean to ban free speech?
  • How do checks and balances in the United States work?
  • What is the purpose of a standardized test?
  • What does it mean to Ghostlight somebody?
  • What is global capitalism?
  • What are the characteristics of a socialist government?
  • What does mass media mean to different societies?
  • What makes for a good piece of writing?
  • What does freedom of the press mean in the U.S.?
  • What is the definition of a well-written essay?
  • What does it mean to censor offensive language?
  • What are the characteristics of a democratic society?
  • Who was Nero and why was he important?
  • What did Stalin do that was condemned by others?
  • What does liberal ideology mean?

Extended Definition Topics

With this type of essay, you may want to include things like etymology and historical context to define an idea. Here is a definition essay topics list that meets these requirements:

  • What is meant to have self-respect in today’s world?
  • What is meant by showing courage during difficult situations?
  • What is the definition of contempt in court?
  • What is the meaning of greatness in society?
  • What is the definition of emotional abuse?
  • What is the meaning of a manslaughter charge?
  • What does it mean to be pessimistic about climate change?
  • How is one’s legacy defined by his successes?
  • What is the meaning of higher education?
  • What is the meaning of unconditional love?
  • What is the definition of statutory rape?
  • What is the meaning of being loyal?
  • What is the definition of a good university?
  • What is the meaning of the term argument?
  • What is the definition of an avid reader?
  • What is the meaning of greatness in sports?
  • What is the meaning of a plea bargain?
  • What is the meaning of spousal abuse?
  • What does it mean to be knowledgeable of world events?
  • What does it mean to be patriotic in today’s world?

All the definition essay topics from our professional writer service can be shared and modified to fit assignment requirements. The topics definition can be sued for long and short projects. Students should try to choose a topic that interests them so that the process of researching and forming arguments will be less challenging.

topics to write a definition essay on

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Breaking Down Concepts: A How-To Guide for Writing Definition Essays


Table of contents

  • 1 What Is a Definition Essay?
  • 2 Choosing the Right Topic
  • 3 What Is the Purpose of a Definition Essay and Creating an Outline?
  • 4.1 Introduction:
  • 4.2 Body Paragraphs:
  • 4.3 Conclusion:
  • 5.1 Understanding the Term Thoroughly
  • 5.2 Use Multiple Sources for Definitions
  • 5.3 Classify the Term
  • 5.4 Separate a Word Into Various Parts
  • 5.5 Begin your essay With a Standard Definition
  • 5.6 Incorporate Your Thesis Early
  • 5.7 Consider Different Viewpoints or Interpretations
  • 5.8 Use Real-Life Examples and Anecdotes:
  • 5.9 Analyze the Term’s Origin and History
  • 5.10 Discuss the Term in Different Contexts
  • 5.11 Compare and Contrast
  • 5.12 Address Common Misconceptions
  • 5.13 Introspection and the Effect of the Defining Term
  • 6 List of Definition Essay Topics
  • 7 Striking the Balance in Academic Writing

The definition essay is one of the most popular types of assignments students can face. Hence, we aim to equip you with the tools to write a definition essay. It will meet academic standards and engage readers with eloquence and insight.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • In this article, we delve into the intricacies of writing a definition essay:
  • Starting with understanding its purpose and the art of selecting the right topic.
  • We’ll discuss the significance of brainstorming and outlining before delving into the essay structure.
  • The writing tips and techniques include understanding the term thoroughly, using multiple sources for definitions, classifying and analyzing the term, incorporating real-life examples, and considering various viewpoints.
  • Additionally, we’ll cover the importance of addressing common misconceptions and the introspective impact of the defining term.

What Is a Definition Essay?

Definition essays are one of the most popular types of essays .

A definition essay is a type of writing that explains and explores the meaning of a complex, abstract, or multifaceted term. It involves presenting a detailed and personal understanding of the term, often supported by research and examples.

However, a definition essay structure goes beyond the bounds of argumentative or descriptive essays. A definition essay seeks to articulate the essence of a chosen term or concept. Its purpose is to delve into the nuances. Thus, it offers a comprehensive understanding that transcends common usage.

An extended definition essay dissects a subject, providing a nuanced examination. It allows readers to grasp its depth and breadth. Also, it doesn’t argue a point or vividly depict a scene but clarifies and refines understanding. Here, the writer strives to illuminate the chosen term through careful language selection. Consequently, they offer readers a profound insight beyond superficial definitions.

Choosing the Right Topic

The process of choosing the correct definition essay topic necessitates a delicate balance. It must be expansive and engaging. Opt for a captivating concept that seizes the reader’s attention, steering clear of mundane options. Besides, steer clear of defining physical objects. Instead, opt for abstract and complex terms such as “love,” “bravery,” or “happiness.” You can find such concepts in any field and choose something suitable.

These subjects offer fertile ground for in-depth exploration, enabling you to unravel layers of meaning and provide a nuanced perspective. Delving into the abstract empowers your essay to transcend mere dictionary definitions. Thus, you invite readers to intellectual and emotional discovery.

What Is the Purpose of a Definition Essay and Creating an Outline?

Before writing a definition essay, you need to brainstorm and outline the process. Brainstorming generates a pool of ideas, providing a foundation for your essay. The creative springboard sparks innovation and ensures a thoughtful exploration of your topic. Creating an outline for the definition essay serves as the roadmap, organizing thoughts cohesively. It structures your narrative, preventing aimless tangents and enhancing overall clarity. These preliminary steps streamline the writing process. It makes writing a definition essay more efficient and rewarding.

Structuring the Definition Essay

Here is the standard essay structure . If you don’t know how to start a definition essay, these tips will help you.


Starting your introduction requires an engaging approach. The initial segment should captivate the reader’s attention while precisely defining your statement. For this purpose, present the chosen word, explaining a concept essay through the lens of the dictionary definition.

Chart the course of your work, outlining the path you will traverse. Importantly, embed your viewpoint within the thesis, ensuring it reflects your stance on the topic.

We advise you to begin your definition paper with a compelling hook that captivates the reader’s attention:

  • a surprising fact;
  • a thought-provoking rhetorical question;
  • a brief anecdote related to the term you’re defining.

Next, provide the standard dictionary definition of the term. It establishes a baseline understanding for readers. Additionally, present your interpretation through a clear definition essay thesis statement. This thesis is the central idea you will delve into throughout the essay.

Body Paragraphs :

The focal point lies in the main text, which explains how to compose a definition argument essay. It is where your critical information and arguments take center stage. The task involves elucidating and expanding your definition essay thesis with:

  • diverse personal opinions;
  • definitions.

Each paragraph in the body of your basic essay should concentrate on a different aspect or component of your definition. Moreover, explore various dimensions of the term. It can be its connotation, denotation, historical context, societal implications, or personal meaning.

Use specific examples and personal anecdotes to illustrate each aspect of your definition. These concrete definition essay examples make abstract concepts more relatable. Besides, consider comparisons and contrasts with similar or opposite concepts to clarify the meaning.

After, acknowledge any complexities or nuances associated with the term. Some terms may have different meanings in various contexts, so exploring these intricacies is crucial.

Indeed, a definitive essay demands specific writing skills and knowledge, and Papers Owl stands ready to assist students. Our experienced writers offer valuable guidance and support. They ensure that each definition essay is meticulously written.


Summarize the key points discussed in the body paragraphs. Afterward, provide readers with a concise recap of the various aspects of your definition.

The good idea is to sta te your thesis statement for the definition essay in the conclusion. Accordingly, emphasize it with the evidence and examples in the essay’s body.

Write a concluding paragraph with some final thoughts or reflections. Find an example of a definition essay. It could help you. This way, it could involve discussing the importance of understanding the term and its relevance in a broader context. Also, it offers personal definitions and reflections on its significance. By wrapping up with thoughtful insights, you leave the reader with a lasting impression of the term you’ve explored in-depth.

Writing Tips and Techniques for Crafting an Excellent Definition Essay

Understanding the term thoroughly.

Before embarking on a definition essay format, it is paramount to comprehend the chosen term thoroughly. Dive into its complexities, nuances, and various dimensions. It will help to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive exploration.

Use Multiple Sources for Definitions

Rely on diverse sources to define your chosen term. The standard dictionary definition is a starting point. Besides, consulting multiple sources adds depth and richness to your deep understanding. This multifaceted approach ensures a more nuanced portrayal of the term.

Classify the Term

Offer readers clarity by classifying the term based on standard dictionary definitions. Describe the classes and parts of speech. You can create a foundational understanding when dealing with complex words.

Separate a Word Into Various Parts

Consider breaking the specific word down into its parts for complex terms. This approach is especially beneficial when dealing with intricate concepts. Moreover, it can be better comprehended when dissected.

Begin your essay With a Standard Definition

Start your paper by presenting a standard definition in essay introduction. As a rule, it must be sourced from reputable references.

Incorporate Your Thesis Early

Integrate your thesis statement early in the introduction. Remember to articulate your perspective on the term clearly to guide the direction of your essay. This proactive approach sets the tone for the reader, offering a roadmap for what lies ahead.

Consider Different Viewpoints or Interpretations

Acknowledge the diversity of perspectives surrounding the term. Explore various viewpoints and definition essay ideas to present a well-rounded analysis. This inclusivity enriches your essay and demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the term’s multifaceted nature.

Use Real-Life Examples and Anecdotes:

Enhance the relatability of your expository essay by incorporating real-life examples and anecdotes. Illustrate the meaning of the term through tangible scenarios. For this purpose, make abstract definition essay concepts more authentic and engaging for the reader.

Analyze the Term’s Origin and History

Delve into the origin and historical evolution of the term. It will help you create an analytical definition essay.

Discuss the Term in Different Contexts

Explore how the term’s meaning varies in diverse cultural, social, or professional contexts. Highlighting these contextual shifts contributes to a more comprehensive and nuanced exploration.

Compare and Contrast

When applicable, employ comparison and contrast to elucidate the term’s meaning. Also, draw parallels with similar terms or highlight differences with opposing concepts. It adds clarity and depth to your definition.

Address Common Misconceptions

Identify and clarify any common misconceptions about the term. Addressing misunderstandings contributes to a more accurate and informed understanding among your readers.

Introspection and the Effect of the Defining Term

Conclude an essay with introspection by reflecting on the person and broader implications of the defining term. Thus, explore how the term resonates on a personal level. You need to know its impact in broader societal contexts. This conclusion adds a reflective dimension to your essay. It leaves a lasting impression on the reader.


List of Definition Essay Topics

Explore a range of compelling topics for your definition essay. From abstract concepts like love and freedom to concrete ideas like sustainability and democracy, this list offers diverse options for insightful exploration

  • Defining Emotional Intelligence
  • What Constitutes True Happiness?
  • The Essence of Creativity
  • The Concept of Cultural Heritage
  • Understanding Social Justice
  • The Meaning of Home
  • What is Altruism?
  • The Definition of Success
  • Exploring the Idea of Freedom
  • The True Nature of Courage
  • What Does ‘Family’ Mean?
  • The Concept of Wisdom
  • Defining Personal Growth
  • The Meaning of Resilience
  • What is Empathy?
  • Understanding Sustainability
  • The Essence of Democracy
  • The Definition of Innovation
  • What Constitutes a Hero?
  • The Concept of Mindfulness
  • The True Meaning of Leadership
  • The Nature of Ambition
  • What is Philanthropy?
  • Understanding Globalization
  • The Meaning of Art
  • The Concept of Justice
  • What Defines a Community?
  • The Essence of Integrity
  • What is Spirituality?
  • The Definition of Patriotism
  • Understanding Self-Respect
  • The Concept of Beauty
  • What is Wisdom?
  • The Nature of Addiction
  • Defining Mental Health
  • The Meaning of Education
  • What Constitutes Peace?
  • The Concept of Power
  • Understanding Authenticity
  • The Essence of Passion
  • What Defines a Role Model?
  • The Concept of Serenity
  • Understanding Mindfulness
  • The Definition of Love
  • What is Respect?
  • The Nature of Bravery
  • Defining a Crisis
  • The Meaning of Adventure
  • What Constitutes Wellness?
  • The Concept of Liberty

Striking the Balance in Academic Writing

This article unraveled the intricacies of crafting a nuanced definition essay. It emphasizes thorough research, diverse perspectives, and illustrative examples. As a key takeaway, mastering this genre requires a blend of precision and creativity. Remember the critical art of balancing active and passive voices in academic writing. Striking this equilibrium ensures clarity, engagement, and a dynamic narrative. While the active voice imparts directness, the passive voice navigates formality.

For those seeking further assistance or guidance, consider the option of ordering an essay tailored to your specific needs.

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Are you looking for some of the best definition essay topics available? If so, you are in the right place. In this blog post, we have discussed great definition paper topics that can help you complete your assignment. Continue reading to understand the meaning of definition essay topics, explore the best way to select one, and get common tips to help you write a quality essay. Our essay writing services have also provided a list of topic ideas on various subjects to guide your research and writing.


Our academic writers are the ones you need to look up. Our professionals always deliver high-quality papers on time. Feel free to choose one of the topic ideas and contact StudyCrumb to get your essay done in no time!

Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

A definition essay is a paper that explains the meaning of an idea, word, or term. It can also be described as an intricate dictionary that not only defines a term but also provide in-depth explanation and illustrations. Definition essay topics are the primary subject matters in a definition essay. Writers expound on definitions essay topics to inform readers about concepts or explain a word or term that has an abstract meaning.  When researching topics for a definition essay, you should explore alternative interpretations from different perspectives. In other words, you can provide both official meaning and your personal interpretation with multiple examples. This type of paper, in many instances, should not be more than 250-500 words long.

Good definition essay topics share some unique characteristics. When selecting a subject matter, you should consider an issue that is simple to write and is interesting to readers. So, what is a good topic for a definition essay? Good definition paper topics should:

Topics you select play a key role in determining your success in writing an academic paper. Choosing definition topics can be very challenging. In many cases, instructor will provide you with a list of ideas to pick from. However, in other scenarios, you may be required to research a definition essay topic from scratch. In this section, you will find common tips to guide you in choosing paper topics. Follow the steps below to select a good definition paper topic.

It’s always a great idea to consult your professor before commencing a task. But if you need some writing inspiration, take a look below or try our Random Essay Topic Generator .

Choosing a good topic is your first step towards writing a good academic paper. If you follow tips provided in sections above, you should be able to select some of the best definition essay topics available. Definition essay topic list below outlines great examples that you can choose from.

For definition argument essay topics, you need to write about subjects that attract divergent opinions and thus, closely debated. Therefore, rather than having a topic that is straightforward and one-dimensional, definition argument topics should be argumentative in nature. Below are some examples of definitional argument topics in case you don’t know how to title an essay :

Contrary to other topic categories, extended definition essay topics take up more pages. A simple elucidation will not suffice. You will need to provide elaborate explanations and illustrations for readers to better understand extended definition topics. Below are some examples of extended definition essay topic ideas that you can use:

Need more ideas? Check our blog with extended essay topics and spot a catchy title.

Due to people’s divergent opinions, some subjects are very controversial. You risk offending a certain group of your readers when discussing controversial paper ideas. You should, therefore, pay more attention and be keener when discussing them. Below are examples of controversial topics for definition papers:

To select good topics for definition essays, you need to have a perfect balance of creativity and intellect to come up with a subject that will intrigue your audience. Also, good definition essay topics should be simple to write and not complex to follow for your readers. Below is a list of some good topics:

Once you spot a perfect idea and realize that the deadline is approaching, remember that you can trust professionals and order an essay online at StudyCrumb .

You need creative definition essay writing topics if you wish to capture your readers’ attention. When exploring definition topic ideas for your essay, you should ensure that it is not only informative but also intriguing. In this section, you will come across some of the most creative topic ideas that you can use to develop a good essay.

Complexity of definition essay topics varies depending on students’ academic level or the target reader. For example, a high school student will work on an easy topic for a definition essay compared to a college student. Below are some simple topics for a definition paper:

Sometimes, instructors may require students to write a definition essay. Good topics for definition essay should be relevant to the course content or school curriculum in general. Moreover, ideas for definition essays tend to vary depending on the academic level of students and their majors. This section outlines common definition essay topics across the high school and college levels.

In this section, we will discuss definition essay topics that are suitable for students in grades 9-12. High school definition topics are simpler. Some definition essay topics often relate to grade-specific information. Some of the best topics are outlined below.

Definition essay topics for college students are more advanced. Unlike at the high school level, where topics are not very complex, college students may be expected to research on topics that have multidimensional points of view. Are you finding trouble coming up with topics for definition paper? You can pick one from options provided below.

In case you also need ideas for a descriptive essay , we’ve got a blog with a whole assortment of interesting topics. 

Haven’t found ideas for a definition essay that intrigues you from the options above? Do not worry. There are still many prompts for a definition essay that are discussed in this section. There are many prompt options on multiple subjects to choose from. Ideas for definition essays have been filtered and categorized into various subjects to inspire your academic writing. Depending on your interests and preference, you can select the clearly sorted topics from the categories below.

Love is a complex subject. The meaning of love and how it is illustrated varies from one person to another. At one point in your life, you must have experienced love. Love is a term that has multiple meanings and varied implications, making it a widely discussed definitional essay topics. Below are some of the popular definition ideas about love.

Family is another multidimensional subject that has a wide spectrum of meanings. You can approach the issue from different angles, including family values, members of a family, and other related aspects. Definition paper topics about family should be written in a manner that will make it feel personal to attain optimum reaction from readers. Below is a list of ideas for a definition essay.

Friendship is another subject that is very close to many people’s hearts. Most of us have at least one person we call a friend. Relationship dynamics between different friends vary. It is understandable for people to have diverse opinions and strong feelings about the subject. As a result, there are many definition essay prompts on friendship for you to choose from. Some of the definition papers topics include:

A person’s idea of heroes and their qualities varies from one time to another. Besides, there is no universal standard for categorizing individuals as heroes. You can easily come up with many hero definition topic ideas due to these divergent opinions. Examples of definitive essay topics on this subject include:

Ideas for definition essays can fall into different categories depending on intention or the nature of the paper. We have grouped topics for a definition essay into six categories to simplify the process of selecting your preferred topic. Rather than looking through all definition topics, you can easily focus on the subject that aligns to your academic writing interests.

Below are good topics for a definition essay related to business:

Learning about history is pivotal in ensuring that you are prepared for future events. Some of the best definition essay ideas include:

There are many different political systems in the world. In addition, political leaders have diverse political ideologies. As a result, people approach political science topics from different points of view. Commonly discussed topics for a definition essay include:

Philosophers in the past have been credited for the development of present-day society, government, and the education system. As a result, many philosophical things have been discussed over the years. Below is a list of some common definition topic ideas:

The study and practice of psychological concepts have increased significantly in the recent past. Below is a list of good definition essay topics related to the subject in case you are also interested:

With advancements in technology, many people have increased interest in technology and science. The list below outlines definition essay topics that you can use for your paper. Check these ideas or browse these technology research topics if you need more suggestions.

Liked the ideas? We have more blogs dedicated to different title ideas such as expository essay topics , analysis essay topics , satirical essy topics etc. Browse through our articles to find a fitting topic for any assignment.

In sum, a definition essay is a common type of an academic paper that requires you to define a word, term, or concept. As a student, you should be able to select good topics for a definition paper. This article provides you with excellent tips to help you in the process of identifying great definition essay topic ideas. In addition, the blog post has many examples of definition essay ideas on various subjects to simplify the writing process for you. This post should increase your chances of success in writing a definition paper.

FAQ About Definition Paper Topics

1. what are some good definition speech topics.

Not all definition essay topics are suitable for public speech. You should choose a topic that will capture the attention of your audience. Popular definition speech ideas include:

3. What are some great definition essay topic ideas?

This list outlines some great topic for definition essay that you can use for your definition paper.

2. What are popular argumentative definition essay topics?

Good definitional argument topics ideas are characterized by divergent opinions. Example of these topics include:

  • Have multiple meanings and interpretations.
  • Relate to unique word, phrase, or concept that will engage readers.
  • Discuss a subject that is both interesting and informative.
  • Relate to subjects that you have many different perspectives on.
  • Select good words to write a definition essay on. Avoid words with single meanings.
  • Pick argumentative phrases and concepts which will enable you to express your writing skills and knowledge on your preferred subject. You should be able to write more than one paragraph on your selected topics.
  • Check for unique words and phrases that can engage your potential readers.
  • Develop a list of all possible topics to select from.
  • Choose a topic you are sure about. Select a topic that you have broad knowledge and points of view on.
  • How can you define fun?
  • What does affirmative action mean and how is it being used in present-day society?
  • What is religion?
  • Define the argument concept.
  • How do you define social class?
  • What is artificial intelligence?
  • Are centralized and decentralized governments any different?
  • What is a personal understanding of power?
  • What is cryptocurrency and how does it deviate from the conventional financial system?
  • What is your understanding of corporate social responsibility?
  • Physical activity should be encouraged more in schools.
  • Explain advantages and disadvantages of capital punishment.
  • Do high school students benefit from take-away assignments?
  • Abortion should be a legalized service.
  • Sex education should be included in school curricula from an early age.
  • Plastic surgery creates unrealistic beauty standards.
  • Is working out beneficial to your mental health?
  • Vaping is more dangerous compared to smoking.
  • Grading should be abolished in schools.
  • Genetically modified products are dangerous and should be abolished.
  • Video games negatively affect children’s social development.
  • Tertiary education should be free.
  • Is it ethical to use animals as test subjects?
  • Euthanizing animals is unethical.
  • Should vaccination be made mandatory?
  • What does true friendship mean in modern-day society?
  • What makes a good partner in marriage?
  • What does misogyny and bigotry mean in the 21st century?
  • What are the main characteristics of a good leader?
  • Religious bigotry in Pakistan.
  • What is your interpretation of a mature individual?
  • What makes a person trustworthy?
  • What is your definition of a happy marriage?
  • What is the difference between ego and high personal standards?
  • How can you define common sense?
  • What is a creative mind?
  • What is a healthy weight?
  • Who is a patriotic citizen?
  • Who is an intelligent person to you?
  • What are the characteristics of a good person?
  • Ethical justification of death penalty.
  • Different ages of consent across different cultures.
  • Is abortion the murdering of an unborn child?
  • What is the meaning of gun control?
  • What is social media addiction?
  • What is the definition of mental disorder in modern society?
  • Difference between sex and gender.
  • What is a physician-assisted suicide?
  • What is the modern interpretation of feminism?
  • What is a juvenile correctional system in the US?
  • What laws regulate immigration in America?
  • What is freedom of speech in the context of modern society?
  • What are the residency rights of Palestinian in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
  • What is considered as explicit content in 21st century society?
  • What is home-schooling and its benefits?
  • What does “peace of mind” mean?
  • What is your perception of poverty in different social classes?
  • Define different types of art.
  • What is your personal understanding of love?
  • What is reverse racism?
  • What is global warming and how does it impact climate change?
  • Difference between respect and admiration.
  • What is your understanding of the term “natural beauty”?
  • What is the meaning of good parenting?
  • Define the concept of the rule of law.
  • Define the right to privacy in the context of modern-day technology.
  • What does sportsmanship mean?
  • Explain peer pressure and its impact on school-going children?
  • What is online shopping?
  • What is the meaning of the term “gender neutral”?
  • What is love at first sight?
  • What is a respectable job?
  • How do you differentiate pleasure from happiness?
  • What is the difference between risk-taking and stupid decisions?
  • What is courage?
  • How does high self-esteem differ from arrogance?
  • What is the meaning of self-respect?
  • Define creativity and provide different types of creative works.
  • What is the meaning of a creative mind?
  • What is a nuclear family and its composition?
  • Define the concept of best friends.
  • How can you discern self-respect from pride?
  • Are religious people more moral?
  • Why are the best students less successful in life compared to average students?
  • How do you define dedication in a relationship?
  • What is racism?
  • What does it mean to be a good student?
  • What is the meaning of term “peer pressure”?
  • What is the meaning of laziness?
  • What is greed?
  • What is the meaning of cyberbullying?
  • What is classical music?
  • What is the definition of charisma?
  • What does it mean to become wealthy?
  • What exactly is hard work?
  • How do you keep power?
  • How can you define the word optimism?
  • What does the term “ agriculture ” mean?
  • What is the meaning of indoor sports?
  • What is the meaning of teamwork?
  • Explain the meaning of trust in the context of friendship.
  • What is the right age to start dating?
  • Differentiate between knowledge and wisdom.
  • Define the term “conspiracy theory”.
  • Differentiate between marriage and cohabitation.
  • Define the communism concept.
  • Define consumerism in present-day society.
  • Define antisemitism.
  • Discern intellectual from intelligent.
  • What is the meaning of positive discrimination and how can it be used for the benefit of society?
  • Differentiate between nature and nurturing in the development of children.
  • Meaning of avatar in the metaverse.
  • What is conflict management?
  • Define Murphy’s Law and how it can be applied in your life.
  • Discuss the meaning of birth control.
  • What is the meaning of Islamophobia?
  • Define the 3rd wave of feminism.
  • Define gene therapy and its role in the medical field.
  • What is the meaning of materialism and how does it vary in different cultures?
  • Differentiate between communism and capitalism.
  • How is male and female gaze used differently in cinema?
  • Define virtual education.
  • How have beauty standards evolved since the 20th century to the present-day?
  • Define Xenophobia in American society.
  • What is multiculturalism and how does it impact modern society?
  • How does social media affect attractiveness standards?
  • Define the concept of utilitarianism.
  • What is the meaning of a marriage in 21st century society?
  • Define and discuss effects of digital revolution.
  • What is green energy?
  • What types of love do you know?
  • Define various characteristics of love.
  • Love between human and non-human.
  • Define the term “love language”.
  • Is love at first sight a true phenomenon?
  • Is parental love automatic?
  • Is there a difference between love and friendship?
  • What is the meaning of self-love?
  • Discuss true love.
  • Does passion affect a person’s mental health?
  • What is God’s love?
  • Define same-sex love.
  • The meaning of love in different cultural setups around the world.
  • What is your ideal Valentine’s Day date?
  • Define the term “soul mate”.
  • What is the structure of a 21st century family?
  • Effect of teenage pregnancy on families.
  • Explain child marriage.
  • How does the concept of family vary across different cultures around the world?
  • What is the meaning of a nuclear family in present-day society?
  • Differentiate between an immediate and a chosen family.
  • How does the increased rate of divorce affect families?
  • Compare the traditional understanding of family to the modern meaning.
  • Define family values in today’s society.
  • How has the internet and technology affected the institution of family?
  • Differentiate joint families from private families.
  • How does foster families impact child development?
  • Define the primary role of a family in your life.
  • Define the elements of a strong family.
  • How do financial problems affect the stability of families?
  • Explain the meaning of a true friendship.
  • How much commitment does true friendship need?
  • Discuss the concept of “friends with benefit”.
  • Can you discern friendship from love?
  • Are friends closer to you than family?
  • What are the impacts of friends on your personality?
  • Differentiate between online friends and physical friends.
  • Define the concept of “best friends forever”.
  • Is a dog a man’s best friend?
  • How can you elaborate “friendship zone”?
  • Define a platonic relationship.
  • Can family members be friends?
  • What is the ultimate test of true friendship?
  • Can you have more than one best friend?
  • What is your understanding of the phrase “loyal friend”?
  • Who is a hero?
  • Explain visual presentation of heroes in the past versus present-day society.
  • What are some characteristics of a hero?
  • Discuss the stereotyping of heroes in Hollywood.
  • Are heroes supposed to perform heroic actions?
  • Origin of super human abilities as a stereotypical characteristic of a hero.
  • Mythological versus modern-day heroes.
  • Differentiate between role models and heroes.
  • How can heroes inspire you?
  • Define different types of heroes.
  • Define the term “anti-hero”.
  • What is a hero in real life?
  • Explain how the concept of hero varies from one culture to another.
  • Is possessing superpowers a mandatory requirement to be a hero?
  • Define heroes as portrayed in Ancient Greek mythology.
  • Define economic depression.
  • What is the meaning of e-commerce?
  • What is social media marketing?
  • Define the term “start-up”.
  • What is the meaning of acquisition, merger?
  • Define international trade.
  • What is corporate social responsibility?
  • What is a business?
  • Important roles of statistics in business.
  • What does small and mid-size enterprise mean?
  • What is history?
  • Define the abolitionist movement.
  • What is the American Civil War?
  • Define the Arab Spring.
  • What is independence?
  • What is colonization?
  • What was the Civil Rights Movement?
  • What is a war?
  • Discuss the Vietnam War.
  • Define the concept of revolution.
  • What is democracy?
  • Define federal versus state government.
  • What is a monarchy?
  • Define anarchism.
  • Define the term “whistleblowing”.
  • What does the term “witch hunt” mean?
  • Define the Fifth Amendment and efforts to enact it.
  • What is a totalitarian regime?
  • What is a political party?
  • What is a trade union?
  • Define devotion.
  • What is utilitarianism?
  • What is freedom?
  • Define humanity.
  • How do you define justice?
  • Define beauty.
  • Define conflict of interest.
  • How can you explain the term “aura”?
  • Retribution versus rehabilitation.
  • Define consciousness.
  • Define attachment theory.
  • What does absolute threshold mean?
  • Explain the placebo effect?
  • What is a mental disorder?
  • Define avoidance learning.
  • What is a conditional reflex?
  • Define PTSD.
  • What is emotional intelligence?
  • Is gender dysphoria a mental disorder?
  • Define depression.
  • What is clean energy?
  • Define fossil fuel.
  • Explain the term “augmented intelligence”.
  • Define identity theft.
  • Define virtual assistance software.
  • Define right to privacy in the current digital era.
  • What does the technological term “cookies” mean?
  • What is cloud computing?
  • What is technology?
  • Define targeted marketing.
  • What is the meaning of discipline?
  • What is the modern-day standard of success?
  • What are the benefits of electric vehicles?
  • What is the value of time?
  • What is industrialization and how does it affect today’s society?
  • What is grief?
  • What does liberalism mean as a political movement?
  • Define religion and its role in society.
  • Discuss roles of religion in promoting radicalization.
  • Define pro-life versus pro-choice.
  • Define same-sex marriage?
  • Define patriotism in the context of American society.
  • Define overpopulation and its danger to earth’s ecosystem.
  • Define economic disparity across different ethnicities.

What Are Definition Essay Topics?

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topics to write a definition essay on

How to Write a Definition Essay: A Step-by-Step Manual for Writing an A+ Paper

definition essay

According to a definition essay meaning, it involves a thoughtful exploration and clarification of the significance of a chosen concept. To begin, carefully select a term that is broad enough to allow for in-depth analysis but specific enough to avoid ambiguity. Start the essay with a concise and standard definition drawn from reputable sources like dictionaries to provide a foundational understanding. However, most of the essay should go beyond this basic definition. Delve into the complexities of the concept, breaking it down into different components, categories, or aspects. Provide examples, anecdotes, and scenarios that illustrate the notion in various contexts, allowing readers to grasp the nuances and depth of its meaning.

Wondering how to add a definition in an essay? Structurally, a definition essay typically follows a clear and organized format. Begin with an introduction that introduces the term and its importance, followed by a thesis statement that outlines your interpretation. Each subsequent paragraph should focus on a different vista of the concept, exploring its history, evolution, and various renditions. Use transitions to ensure a smooth flow between passages. In conclusion, summarize the key points, restate your hypothesis, and leave the audience with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action. Remember that the goal is not just to define the notion but to provide a comprehensive and insightful exploration that enhances the professor's competence. Our essay writers online can help you foster a richer appreciation for the complexities inherent in language and society.

topics to write a definition essay on

What Is a Definition Essay

A definition essay meaning suggests it is a type of academic writing that aims to provide a comprehensive explanation of a particular construct or concept. Unlike other forms of essays that may focus on argumentation or persuasion, a definition essay primarily seeks to elucidate the meaning of the chosen motif. What is the purpose of a definition essay? To delve beyond the surface-level comprehension of the word and offer a nuanced explanation combining personal insights and a broader, commonly accepted definition. This genre of essay often requires careful analysis, research, and consideration of various perspectives to present a well-rounded and thorough exploration of the selected consideration.

During the definition essay writing process, it is crucial for the writer to not only offer a concise dictionary-like definition but also to provide context, examples, and relevant anecdotes that help illuminate the leitmotif's multifaceted nature. This allows the reader to gain a deeper familiarization of the subject matter and encourages critical thinking. The essay may cover abstract concepts like love, justice, or freedom, or it can explore concrete assumptions such as technology, democracy, or sustainability. Through carefully selecting the apprehension and thoughtful exploration of its meaning, a well-executed definition essay engages readers.

how to write a definition essay

Definition Essay Outline

To learn how to write a definition essay, you have to understand that a well-structured definition essay typically follows a standard creative writing format to ensure clarity and coherence in presenting the chosen concept. The introduction serves as the starting point, where the writer provides a standard definition of the aspect to establish a baseline realization for the audience. However, the introduction should go beyond a mere dictionary definition; it should include an argument that outlines the writer's interpretation and sets the stage for the following in-depth exploration. This statement guides the tutor on what to expect in the essay and highlights the specific dimensions the writer will delve into.

After realizing how to start a definition essay, proceed to the main body, where the idea is dissected and examined in detail. Each subsection within the body should focus on a distinct aspect or facet. It's crucial to provide clear and comprehensive explanations, incorporating examples, anecdotes, and illustrations to enhance the reader's erudition. Additionally, consider organizing the body paragraphs logically, perhaps moving from the more general vistas to its more specific or nuanced dimensions. Transitions between sections are essential for maintaining a smooth flow and coherence. 

Finally, the conclusion should restate the key sentence, summarize the key points discussed in the body, and offer a thoughtful reflection or a broader implication of the facet. The conclusion should leave a lasting impression and reinforce the significance of the conception in the context explored throughout the essay. Browse these essays for sale to find great examples of definition essays performed by academic wordsmiths. 


  • Hook: Engage the classroom with an interesting fact, quote, or anecdote related to the theme.
  • Background: Provide a standard and basic definition from a reliable source.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly state your interpretation and the aspects you will explore in the essay.

Body Paragraphs

  • Aspect 1: Start with the broader or general outlook.
  • Definition: Provide a detailed explanation of the first aspect.
  • Examples: Offer relevant examples, anecdotes, or scenarios to illustrate the concept.
  • Aspect 2: Move on to a specific dimension.
  • Definition: Delve into the details of the second aspect.
  • Examples: Support your explanation with concrete examples to enhance clarity.
  • Continue with additional angles as needed, ensuring a logical flow between passages.

Counterarguments (Optional)

  • Address possible alternative interpretations or misconceptions.
  • Refute counterarguments and reinforce the validity of your interpretation.
  • Summarize: Recap the key points discussed in the body paragraphs.
  • Restate Thesis: Reinforce your interpretation of the term.
  • Concluding Thoughts: Provide a thoughtful reflection, broader implication, or a call to action.

Definition Essay Introduction

In the introductory section of a definition essay, the reader is presented with the topic in a manner that is not only highly informative but also compelling enough to engage them throughout the entire essay. To achieve this, the following elements are crucial:

  • Hook: Utilize a captivating phrase or question to seize the reader's attention.
  • Background Information: Briefly elucidate the topic and underscore its significance in being defined.
  • Thesis Statement: Clearly articulate the term and provide your own interpretation of it.

Definition Essay Thesis

Unlike traditional theses, a definition essay thesis statement doesn't require the writer to argue a point. For those aiming to write an effective definition essay, the key lies in incorporating a central assertion into the concluding sentence of the introduction. Whether you're immersed in the study of astrophysics at a top-tier college or any other discipline, your statement should succinctly define the concept in your own words.

Definition Essay Body Paragraphs

As we’ve learned how to start an essay with a definition, let’s move on to the main body. Within the body of your essay, dismantle the conception into its constituent elements, assess it from various perspectives, and offer a pertinent justification. Depending on the specific writing requirements of your assignment, the number of sections may exceed three. You can introduce additional sections or rearrange the order based on the complexity of the thought. Consider employing the following structure if you want to know how to write a definition paragraph:

  • Historical Definition: Detail the origin and evolution of the main idea.
  • Dictionary Definition: Present the official definition and draw comparisons with your own interpretation.
  • Personal Definition: Articulate your awareness of the hypothesis, supported by examples and anecdotes.
  • Expert Definition: Reference a scholar's definition and elucidate any disparities from your own rendition.
  • Cultural Definition: Examine how the notion is employed in popular culture and its reflection of societal values.

Definition Essay Conclusion

In the concluding paragraph, the final portion of the essay, you can study how to define a word in an essay. It is imperative to recapitulate the main points. Structure a fitting ending by following these steps:

  • Restate Thesis: Summarize your definition and underscore its significance.
  • Implications: Clarify how comprehending the focal point can influence our thoughts and actions.
  • Call to Action: Motivate readers to employ the term accurately and advocate for precise definitions within their communities.

Definition Essay Types

Have you encountered a captivating abstraction with a rich history but didn’t know how to put definition in essay? Before committing to it, carefully consider the characteristics of definition essay and the potential approaches you can take. 

  • Break down your topic into distinct components.
  • Define each component separately to provide a detailed insight.


  • Identify and explore the different categories or groups that your term falls under.
  • Provide detailed explanations for each category, highlighting the nuances of the term.
  • Showcase the uniqueness of your term by comparing it to more common or typical things.
  • Highlight how your term stands out, whether through similarities or differences from the norm.
  • Identify and elaborate on the specific traits and qualities that best represent the central idea of your essay.
  • Support your definition with concrete examples illustrating the identified traits.
  • Clearly state what your term is not, providing a refined and narrowed definition.
  • Use negation to eliminate ambiguity and focus the reader's perception.

Origins and Causes

  • Explore the historical roots of your term, including its first appearance and any relevant historical details.
  • Provide insight into the origin and evolution of the concept over time.

Results, Effects, and Uses

  • Examine the consequences and outcomes associated with your term.
  • Detail the various ways in which the term is utilized and its significance in different contexts.

Tips for Writing a Definition Essay

Few students actually know how to write a definition in an essay, which can pose a challenge as it requires developing a thorough depiction of a singular term that combines both scholarly and personal elements. Selecting a term that allows for a comprehensive exploration of the essay is crucial, and adhering to traditional methods is instrumental in ensuring a nuanced grasp. Here are some tips to help you perform an effective and engaging definition essay:

definition essay tips

  • Select a term that has a clear and widely accepted definition. Avoid writing overly broad or subjective terms that may lead to ambiguity.
  • Conduct thorough research to understand the various meanings and interpretations of the term. Consult reputable sources, dictionaries, and scholarly articles to gather comprehensive information.
  • Begin your essay by presenting the standard or dictionary definition of the term. This serves as a foundation for your own elucidation.
  • Write your personal exegis of the term. Share your perspective and insights, going beyond the standard definition.
  • Experiment with different approaches such as analysis, classification, comparison, or negation to add depth to your essay. This allows you to explore various facets of the term.
  • To answer the question how do you put a definition in an essay, illustrate your definition with relevant examples, anecdotes, or scenarios. Concrete examples help readers better grasp the meaning of the term.
  • Organize your essay with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each subsection should focus on a specific element of the term, contributing to a comprehensive interpretation.
  • Acknowledge and address different perspectives on the term. Discuss how the meaning may vary based on context, culture, or private experiences.
  • Use negation to define the term by explaining what it is not. This technique helps to eliminate confusion and refine the definition.
  • Strive for clarity and precision in your language. Avoid unnecessary complexity and ensure that each word contributes to the development of the term.
  • Review your essay for clarity, coherence, and consistency. Ensure that your definition is well-supported and that your writing is free from grammatical errors.
  • Write for your target audience. Tailor your explanations to suit the level of erudition of your readers, providing enough detail without overwhelming them.
  • Summarize your main points in the conclusion and restate your argumentation. Consider the broader implications or significance of writing about the term.
  • Have someone else read your essay to gain feedback. This can provide valuable insights and help you identify areas for improvement.

Need extra tips regarding how to write an academic essay ? Our expensive guide offers everything you need and more to write A-grade essays quickly. 

Definition Essay Topic Ideas

Check out 30 definition essay examples of topics that you can get inspired by and brainstorm your own brilliant ideas to write about in your essay. 

  • Defining true achievement beyond material wealth.
  • Exploring the many faces of bravery.
  • Unraveling the layers of genuine connection.
  • A multifaceted journey to contentment.
  • Navigating the moral compass in a complex world.
  • The power to bounce back from life's challenges.
  • Understanding and sharing the feelings of others.
  • The ever-evolving landscape of creative progress.
  • Striving for fairness in a diverse society.
  • Balancing personal liberties with social responsibility.
  • The interplay of self-perception and social constructs.
  • Integrating knowledge and experience for sound judgment.
  • The pursuit of fairness and equity in legal systems.
  • Nurturing connections that transcend time and distance.
  • Beyond the classroom – lifelong learning and growth.
  • Building bonds in a hyperconnected world.
  • Fostering hope in the face of adversity.
  • Inspiring and guiding others toward a common goal.
  • Unveiling the aesthetic essence beyond physical appearance.
  • Celebrating differences for a richer human experience.
  • Acts of selflessness in a self-centric world.
  • Balancing human needs with environmental responsibility.
  • Unleashing imagination for innovative problem-solving.
  • A holistic approach to physical and mental well-being.
  • Standing in the intersection of heritage and modernity.
  • Examining the impact of innovation on human life.
  • Transformative growth in the face of challenges.
  • The evolution of thought and behavior across the lifespan.
  • Discovering meaning and direction in life.
  • The art of expressing ideas and building connections.

Two Definition Essay Examples

To grasp the essence of what writing definition essay is about, it’s always a great idea to have a vivid example in front of you. Preferably done by someone who knows their writing craft. If you choose to use this definition essay example as a reference, feel free to analyze its structure and format. Alternatively, you can opt to purchase an essay affordably and of the highest quality on our platform!

topics to write a definition essay on

How to Write a Good Thesis Statement for Definition Essay?

How to write a definition essay, how to format a definition in an essay, how to write a definition paragraph.

topics to write a definition essay on

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100 Intersting Definition Essay Topics

Students all over the world look for definition essay topics at some points of their academic lives. The reason for this is simple: they got an assignment and are now worried about getting it done. There are a number of challenges connected with this task, and for doing everything correctly, you have to have a clear idea of what you’re doing. At first, it is important to figure out  what definition essay is . It’s a genre of writing where you present, explain, and elaborate on some idea, concept, or object. If you check any definition essay topics list, you’ll see that it could be anything, from feelings to technical instruments and philosophical concepts.

Why are such tasks important? They give writers a chance to look at a specific subject from a much deeper perspective than they’re used to, and such practice will be useful in their future life. For example, you might have always known what love is, but have you dwelled on all its meanings? Did you know where the word itself came from and how people’s understanding of it differs depending on their circumstances? A paper like this lets you get a definitive answer.  Choice of topic is extremely important, so knowing how to pick it is crucial.

Selecting Extended Definition Essay Topics

Deciding on a topic for an essay could look like a piece of cake, but in reality, it’s a complex process. You must select something interesting, educational, and academic in nature. Can you readily think of such themes? Probably not. With tips outlined below, making a choice will be easier!

  • Choose interesting, not boring.  The worst mistake students could do is pick a topic they’ll hate. There are many definition essay ideas, and while some might seem easier than others, it doesn’t mean you should go for them. Be sure you like your topic and want to explore it. This will help you feel inspiration when you’re writing, so the process will not only be interesting to you, but to your readers as well.
  • Brainstorm.  Discussing topics with friends or classmates is always a great idea. For one thing, you might find a sense of direction for your own essay. For another, you could make certain that you pick a unique topic. Very often, professors receive works dedicated to identical issues, and while it’s not always frowned upon, this is still a situation that should be avoided. You won’t want to be accused of plagiarism when you’ve put honest efforts into your essay.
  • Compare the topic against the word count.  Some definition essay prompts are more substantial than others. Defining the concept of family could take 5 or even 10 pages, but something like a word “table” wouldn’t let you move farther than 1 or 2. So, think carefully. If you were told to write 1200 words, select a topic accordingly.
  • Check availability of sources.  Be sure to check instructions or even a template if it’s available: professors often provide them to make their students’ writing easier. Are the number of sources indicated there? Most essays of academic level have to be based on credible support. That includes peer-reviewed articles, scientific books, and official sites with tested information.

100 Best Definition Paper Topics

A way to choose an appropriate topic is to look through different helpful lists. We’ve prepared one specifically for you. If you are in search of inspiration and cannot settle on an idea you’d like, check options below. There are 10 categories with 10 topics in each: think about which appeals to you more and feel free to pick anything that sounds good.

Family Definition Essay Ideas

Love and family often go together, but family life also has numerous problems. Choose any of these definition essay topics for college and explore this concept from the angle you like.

  • An Image of a Perfect Family: Define How It Looks From Your Perspective
  • Common American Family: What Does This Image Include?
  • What Does Being Teenage Parents Mean & How and Why It Happens?
  • Stepfather: Who Is He & What Role Does He Play?
  • Being a Mother: Concept, Responsibility, and Purpose
  • Who Are Abusive Parents and What Criteria Should Be Met to Be Defined as Such?
  • How Could Traditional Family Values Be Defined?
  • Families with Multiple Children: What Single Definition Unites Them?
  • Elaborate on the Concept of Being an Orphan: What Does This Mean?
  • In What Cases Does the Word “Dysfunctional” Apply to Families?

Love and Friendship Topics for Definition Essays

Almost every person has or had friends. These good definition essay topics will help you research this term as you see fit.

  • Love as Understood in Families Around the World: How Do Religion and Culture Affect Its Definition?
  • Romantic Attraction: What Feelings and Experiences Define It?
  • How I Understand the Idea of Having a Best Friend
  • Friendship Among Politicians as a Unique Phenomenon
  • How Would You Define Unhealthy Relationships?
  • Co-dependency: What Is It, What Causes It, & What This Leads To
  • Romantic Obsession: What Defines This Concept and How It Emerges?
  • Understanding Friendship: What Do Different Populations Say About It?
  • Parental Love and Its Inherency: How Do People Understand It?
  • Friendship between Men and Women: In What Ways Does It Exist?

Freedom Definition Essay Prompts

Who doesn’t want to be free? With these definition essay topics examples, you could make your point known.

  • What Freedom Means to Americans vs. the Rest of the World
  • How Do People Who Work All Their Lives Define Freedom?
  • Freedom for Prisoners: What Features Does This Idea Entail?
  • Limitations In School: What Are They?
  • Correlation between Concepts of Freedom and Personal Satisfaction
  • How Was Freedom Perceived During WW2?
  • Breaks at School: Why Have They Been Created?
  • Slavery in the Modern World, Its History, & Changing Reasons That Cause It
  • Money in the Context of Freedom
  • What Is Your Unique Understanding of Being Free?

This category is full of easy definition essay topics because happiness is a very universal concept that most people can understand.

  • Provide Your Personal View on What Being Happy Means
  • Define Connection between Dreams and Happiness
  • How Could Ancient People Perceive Freedom vs. How It is Understood Now
  • What Are Expectations in Terms of Happiness?
  • Helping Others to Feel Happy: Define This Phenomenon and Provide Explanation
  • How Does a Happy American Normally Look Like?
  • Suffering from Depression: What Does This Issue Mean in Relation to Happiness?
  • Characteristics of Being Unhappy
  • Concept of Joy as Understood in Developed & Underdeveloped Countries
  • Define Happiness Like It Is Seen by Families as Unites

Business Topics for Definition Essay

There are diverse topics for a definition essay in the sphere of business. If you are interested in learning how the world works and what money making entails, you might like some of these.

  • Define the Word Business by Explaining It & Analyzing Its Background
  • How Do You Personally Understand the Concept of Business?
  • Transition From Being Employed to Losing Job: Define & Explain It
  • Good Salary: What Would It Be in Modern America?
  • Merging between Companies: Explain What This Process Implies
  • What Are Start-Ups & How Is Their Success Defined?
  • Explain What Bankruptcy Is
  • What Is Definition of Social Packages and Why Do They Exist?
  • What Does Being Fired Mean?
  • Explain Maternal Leave and Rules That Surround It

Science and IT Definition Prompts

Science and IT are pretty complicated sectors, but they have lots of fascinating definition essay example topics, especially if this is something you have passion for.

  • Explain What Windows Is Like You Would to Newbies
  • What Concepts and Directions Does Math Include?
  • Cell Phones: Their Old & New Versions and How the Concept Has Evolved Over Time
  • Artificial Intelligence: What This Phenomenon Means & How It Came to Be
  • Internet as One of the Most Complex and Widest Concepts in Modern Times
  • Explain the Job of a Programmer: Which Aspects Are Included Into It?
  • What Defines Smartphone?
  • E-Learning: What Caused This and How You Would Define It?
  • Branch of Physics: Talk About Its Meaning
  • Define Laptops and Underline How They Differ From Computers

Definition Essay Topics For College Students

College presupposes tasks with a certain level of complexity. These definition argument topics correspond to it.

  • What Is Paragraph in Accordance with Academic Standards?
  • How Is Education Understood These Days?
  • Explain Relevance & Meaning of Part-Time Education
  • Role of Literature in Our Technology-Based World
  • What Does Having a Degree Mean Today?
  • Discuss the Idea Behind Plagiarism: Concept, Dangers, Reasons, & Impacts
  • Define Heteronormativity and Share Information about Its Origins
  • Brand Loyalty: What Could People Derive From This Concept?
  • Reveal the Core & Reasons of Fascism
  • Does Nobility Still Exist & How Could It Be Explained?

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Easy Definition Essays Topics

Sometimes students don’t want to spend too much time on their work. In such instances, easy and funny definition essay topics apply.

  • Poverty: How Do People From Different Social Classes Perceive It?
  • Define Home Along with Everything This Concept Entails
  • What Is Art and How Does Modern Concept Differ From the Past?
  • How Would You Define Personal & Global Success?
  • What Inspired Fanfiction & Who Are People Interested in Writing in This Genre?
  • Explain the Concept Behind Your Favorite TV Show
  • Most Perfect Teacher in the World: How Should They Look Like?
  • How Do Teenagers Perceive Popularity and What Meaning This Understanding Holds for Them?
  • Define Your Favorite Piece of Music
  • How Should Social Media Be Defined?

Creative Ideas

Some people are bursting with desire to do things differently. If you’d like creative definition essay topics, check these out.

  • What Does a Self-Publishing Process Entail & What Meaning Does It Have?
  • Talk About Polygamous People & What This Implies
  • What Is Wedding & Which Attributes Represent It?
  • All Types of Bed-Sharing: Discuss Them with Examples
  • Ghosts: What Are They & When Did People Start Talking About Them?
  • Good Sleep: How Many Hours Are needed & What Dreams Are Preferable
  • What Are Online Trolls?
  • Explain Laptop Freezing, Its Causes, & Reactions This Problem Evokes
  • Rainbow Flag: Where Did It Come From & What Meaning Does It Hold?
  • “Supernatural” Concept: Explain This Idea

Extended Definition Essays Ideas

Some definitions could be extended to cover more complex or general ideas. These definition paragraph topics will show you how it could be done.

  • Being Miserable and Committing Crimes: Define Link Between These Concepts
  • Pick Any Three Related Concepts and Elaborate On Them
  • Life in Abusive Households & Becoming Abusive: What Do They Mean?
  • What Is Laziness & Ways of Its Expression
  • Define Having a Selfish Nature
  • Weak Teachers: How Would You Explain This Occurrence?
  • What Is the Best Definition for Coldness as Personal Trait?
  • Human Sexuality and All Its Sides
  • Phobias: Explain Concept & Define Its Elements
  • How Can Segregation Be Understood?

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Choosing the Perfect Definition Essay Topic

Understanding a term deeply means not just knowing its standard definition, but also diving into its broader implications, historical background, and varied interpretations. An engaging definition essay does just that. To write a compelling essay, you must first anchor your discussion with an apt topic. Below are some guidelines on selecting the best definition essay topic and a comprehensive list of ideas to get you started.

Guidelines for Selecting a Definition Essay Topic:

  • Function of Terms: Understand the core meaning and practical application of the term you choose.
  • Structure of the Terms: Delve into the organization or composition of the term.
  • Word Analysis: Compare and contrast the term’s similarities and differences, exploring its deeper implications.
  • Term Stereotypes: Some words come with stereotypes. Debunking or discussing these can be an engaging topic.

Navigating the landscape of definition essay topics can be a daunting task. However, it’s essential to choose a term or concept that offers depth, allowing for thorough exploration and understanding. Here’s a list of 75 intriguing definition essay topics to inspire your next write-up.

Read more: How to Write a Good Definition Essay

Comprehensive List of 75 Definition Essay Topics:

Personal relationships & emotions.

  • Defining True Love
  • The Essence of Friendship
  • What It Means to Trust
  • The Nature of Betrayal
  • Modern Definitions of Family

Societal Concepts

  • The Meaning of Culture
  • Modern-day Patriotism
  • Understanding Gender Fluidity
  • Defining Social Justice
  • The True Essence of Freedom

Philosophical Ideas

  • What is Existentialism?
  • The Concept of Fate
  • Understanding Morality
  • Defining Altruism
  • The Nature of Reality

Business & Economics

  • The True Meaning of Success
  • Defining Capitalism in the 21st Century
  • The Essence of Entrepreneurship
  • Understanding Economic Equality
  • The Concept of Brand Loyalty

Science & Technology

  • Defining Artificial Intelligence
  • The Nature of Quantum Physics
  • What is Genetic Engineering?
  • The Essence of Virtual Reality
  • Defining Renewable Energy

Art, Music, & Literature

  • The Definition of Artistic Genius
  • What Makes Music “Classical”?
  • The Nature of Poetry
  • Defining Modern Literature
  • The Essence of Performance Art

Personal Growth & Lifestyle

  • Understanding Self-care
  • The True Meaning of Ambition
  • Defining Personal Growth
  • The Concept of Mindfulness
  • What It Means to Be Resilient

Health & Well-being

  • The Definition of Mental Health
  • Understanding Physical Fitness
  • What is Emotional Intelligence?
  • The Nature of Holistic Health
  • Defining Dietary Wellness

Education & Learning

  • The Essence of Lifelong Learning
  • Understanding Academic Excellence
  • The Concept of Informal Education
  • The True Meaning of Literacy
  • What is Experiential Learning?

Environment & Nature

  • Defining Sustainable Living
  • The Essence of Biodiversity
  • Understanding Climate Change
  • The Concept of Urbanization
  • The Nature of Organic Farming

Cultural & Historical Perspectives

  • Understanding Cultural Appropriation
  • The True Essence of Renaissance
  • Defining the Beat Generation
  • The Concept of Oral Traditions
  • What is Cultural Assimilation?

Political & Global Issues

  • The Nature of Democracy
  • Understanding the Geopolitics
  • Defining Nationalism
  • The Essence of Globalization
  • What is Political Correctness?

Psychological Concepts

  • The Definition of Empathy
  • Understanding the Subconscious Mind
  • The True Meaning of Motivation
  • Defining Cognitive Dissonance
  • The Nature of Intuition

Ethical & Moral Concerns

  • The Concept of Human Rights
  • Understanding Animal Rights
  • What is Ethical Consumption?
  • The Essence of Personal Integrity
  • Defining Social Responsibility

Miscellaneous Themes

  • The True Meaning of Adventure
  • Understanding Space Exploration
  • The Concept of Time Travel
  • The Nature of Dreams
  • Defining Spiritual Awakening

This expansive list provides an array of topics, allowing for an in-depth exploration of terms from various spheres of life. Choose a topic that resonates with you and offers substantial scope for analysis and interpretation.

Need Professional Help?

Embarking on a definition essay journey can sometimes be challenging. If you’re struggling with topic selection, research, or crafting a compelling essay, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance.

Our expert essay writing service is designed to support and guide you at every step. Whether you need a unique topic, thorough research, or a well-structured write-up, our team of seasoned writers is here to assist.

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Definition Essay Guide

Definition Essay Writing

Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023

How to Write A Definition Essay - Topics and Samples

By: Leanne R.

Reviewed By: Chris H.

Published on: Apr 27, 2021

Definition Essay

The definition essay is a difficult task for high school and college students. To write one well, you need to use examples or facts supporting the meaning that defines your word.

The following blog post will tell you exactly how to do it! So read on and learn everything about it.

Definition Essay

On this Page

What is a Definition Essay?

As the name suggests, a definition essay is the kind of writing that explains a word. It requires you to come up with your academic definition of a specific word. The definition can be concrete or abstract, depending on the word.

For instance, you can provide an exact definition for a “table” but for the term “love,” it isn’t possible to do so. Such terms will rely on your point of view.

Your definition must be detailed and well researched with supporting evidence. When choosing a word, make sure you have plenty to write about and give the audience some additional information from a different perspective.

Writing a definition essay is a simple three-step process. First, present the term that you want to define. Second, provide the necessary information so the reader can understand it easily. Lastly, use facts or anecdotes to increase understanding further.

To further explain what is a definition essay, take a look at its basic elements.

How to Write a Definition Essay?

This section will teach you how to write a definition essay and cover the steps that must be followed when writing a great essay.

1. Choose a Word

The first step, of course, is picking the right word. Now, how do you know what makes a topic good?

The perfect topic for a definition essay is an abstract concept that people can’t find when reading an English dictionary. You must have a complete understanding of the term you have chosen.

2. Don’t Pick Objects to be Your Topic

Also, stay away from choosing different objects as your topic; for example, writing about objects such as “table,” “glass,” “door” can be difficult.

Since there isn’t much to write about such topics, you won’t be able to come up with a meaningful piece of writing.

3. Pick a Word with Multiple Meanings

Try finding a word with more than one meaning to different people, a term that would mean something else.

This will give you the opportunity of writing more while including your personal experience and interpreting others.

4. Check its Literal Definition

Take help from dictionaries and encyclopedias, find the official definition of a word’s origin and any theories regarding it.

Along with that, you can find useful information on the internet. You can find several scholarly articles, academic essays, blogs, informative videos, etc.

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5. Look for Different Perspectives

After you have established what a concept or idea means to you, it is now time to look at things from a different point of view.

You can talk to your friends and family about what a word means to them or what is the first thing that comes to their mind upon hearing this word, their feelings when hearing it, etc.

6. Create a Definition

The next step is using the research to come up with your own definition. To write an effective definition, consider the following pointers.

You can define a term by explaining what it does and its mechanism.

Define a term by its structure and how it is organized.

Define a term using analysis. Compare the term you are writing about with other members of its category. The differences are important as they make your term stand out from the rest.

For a misunderstood term or isn’t used in the right context, it is good practice to explain what it does not mean.

Use examples such as facts, anecdotes, images, and stories to help your reader better understand the term.Note: don’t use examples that are against your definition.

Definition Essay Outline

An outline is a draft of your essay, which includes the significant components of the essay. Sticking to an outline helps you stay on track and complete your essay logically.

A definition essay outline consists of three main parts:

1. Definition Essay Introduction

You should state your own definition of the term, which may be different from its actual meaning. This allows readers to understand what you are going on in-depth and gives them context for why certain terms exist as they do within society today.

But you must open the essay using an interesting piece of information relevant to the term being defined. For instance, you can use an anecdotal hook sentence and tell an interesting story. To make sure your essay can grab the reader’s attention. You can learn the art of opening your essay with catchy sentences from this detailed article on hook examples.

A definition essay doesn’t have a typical thesis statement. Instead, it requires you to define the term in your own words without giving away the whole definition.

2. Definition Essay Main Body

Here you will fully explain the definition of the word with supporting facts and examples. The number of body paragraphs depends upon the complexity of your topic; it could be three or more.

Utilize these paragraphs to investigate and present important information about the word, its history, usage, origin, context, etc.

3. Definition Essay Conclusion

The conclusion is the part of your essay where you sum up the entire essay. No additional or new information should be introduced at this point.

Leave the audience with some final thoughts explaining how the definition affected you and played a part in your life.

Don’t mention a story or experience that contradicts what you have written in the essay.

Definition Essay Format


Definition Essay Examples

Writing a definition essay can be tricky, but before you dive into the writing stage, make sure to read some professionally written examples. Check out this example and get an idea from them.

Definition Essay Sample


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Definition Essay Topics

You can’t write a good essay without an interesting topic, can you?

Choosing an interesting topic is no doubt a challenging task.

To make this process a little less time-consuming and burdensome for you, here is a list of top definition essay topics.

  • Why are the terms money and happiness interlinked for some people?
  • What does love mean for different people?
  • How do people around you describe love?
  • What does love mean for young adults?
  • is happiness for different people?
  • The philosophical meaning of happiness.
  • How does one feel happiness?
  • What does true love mean?
  • Is happiness a myth?
  • What is platonic love?

We hope that this complete guide on how to write a definition essay was helpful and solved all of your queries. If you don't have the time or lack skills, there are always available for your help.

Our professional writers are known for crafting high-quality term papers, essays, and other academic assignments in various subjects at extremely low prices.

So, contact us now and get help from our write my essay service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of a definition essay.

Its main purpose is to give a complete definition for certain words or notions.

What are the 3 ways in giving definition?

The three main ways of giving definition are:

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457 Definition Essay Topics and Writing Tips

A definition explains the meaning of a term or a concept. In a dictionary, you’ll find a definition in a single sentence. A definition paper, however, encompasses several paragraphs. Such an essay, amongst other things, can include personal experience and examples.

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The picture explains what a definition essay is.

To write a successful definition paper, you need to provide a unique view of your chosen subject. In this article by , we have compiled a list of the best definition essay ideas for high school and college students. We will also:

  • explain how to choose a topic;
  • give some writing tips;
  • provide a definition essay sample.   
  • 🔝 Top 10 Topics
  • ⭐ How to Choose a Topic
  • 💭 Top 7 Prompts
  • 👍 70 Easy Definition Topics
  • 🏫 High School Topics
  • 🎓 Definition Topics for College

🧐 Definition Argument Topics

  • 🤯 Controversial Definition Topics
  • 🎈 Funny Definition Topics
  • 📚 Other Topics
  • ✅ Essay Writing Tips
  • 📑 Definition Essay Example

🔍 References

🔝 top 10 definition essay topics.

  • Can love be defined? 
  • Is empathy a weakness? 
  • Is optimism a strength? 
  • How do you define success? 
  • What is considered racism? 
  • What does it mean to be happy? 
  • What is independence for you? 
  • When does one become an adult? 
  • What does it take to be an ambitious person? 
  • How to know if someone is a perfectionist?

⭐ Definition Essay Topics: How to Choose

When it comes to papers explaining a concept, essay topics are notoriously hard to choose. How do you find a good idea to write about? Well, here are a few steps that you might want to consider while making the decision:

  • Choose a word with a complex meaning. For instance, notions such as “love” or “home” are hard to define because everyone has their own understanding of them.
  • Make sure the meaning of the word is arguable. Unlike “love” and “home,” words such as “coffee” or “hose” have a precise meaning you can’t really argue about.
  • Choose the word you are familiar with. You can educate yourself on the meaning of certain words before writing an essay, but it’s still different from incorporating it into your daily life.

So, let’s get started with our prompts and topics for a definition essay!

💭 Top 7 Definition Essay Prompts

Definition of love essay prompt.

Practically all people have felt love at some point in their life. However, what is love, exactly? How do you define it? Well, love is a term that encompasses various meanings and has different implications:

  • You can write about different characteristics of love. For instance, it can be all-consuming and passionate or tender and gentle.
  • There are various types of love, such as romantic and platonic, and you can explore them in your essay.
  • You may also dive into how love shouldn’t necessarily be related to another human being. One can also love certain activities or objects. 
  • Another widely discussed topic is the love language. You can write about how different people perceive and express their love.

Family Definition Essay Prompt

Family is another term that has a vast spectrum of meanings. Here are some ideas for your essay:

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  • Talk about the difference between an immediate and a chosen family. For instance, you may think of family while referring to your parents or siblings. For others, a family can also be a group of people who love and care for one another. It doesn’t matter if they are related by blood or not.
  • You can talk about the traditional understanding of a family vs. the modern one.

Definition of a Hero Essay Prompt

People’s ideas of heroes and heroic qualities change throughout time. Consider discussing the following in your essay:

  • Look into the mythological roots of a hero and how Ancient Greeks described someone with heroic traits.
  • Talk about the modern understanding of a hero.
  • Is having superpowers a pre-requirement to being a hero, or can anyone spiritually strong and brave be called a hero?

Racism Definition Essay Prompt

Racism is one of the most permanent issues in society. It happens when people divide themselves into exclusive, separate groups according to their race and skin color. In your paper, you may discuss:

  • Talk about how the word “racism” when it comes to law and the legal system.
  • You can talk about the etymology of the word racism and how it came to be.
  • Discuss how racism is understood in philosophy, literature, and psychology.
  • Mention the differences between the implications the term “racism” has when it comes to social life and the law.

Home Definition Essay Prompt

If you look up the word “home” in a dictionary, you’ll see definitions like “a place where a person lives” or “a place where one originally comes from.” However, each person has a different understanding of what it actually means. Here are a few things that you can discuss in your essay:

  • You can write about your interpretation of the famous saying, “There’s no place like home.” 
  • Talk about the differences between “home” and “house.”
  • Explore how the word “home” is understood in philosophy, literature, and psychology.

Definition Essay: American Dream Prompt

American Dream is a concept that’s almost synonymous with the word America itself. This term and its meaning have been discussed since its first appearance in Epic of America in 1931. You can explore the following topics in your paper:

  • Discuss how the notion of the American Dream has changed and evolved throughout time.
  • Write about the concept of “4 freedoms for all” and how it has affected people’s perception of the American Dream.
  • You may also want to mention globalization and how it has affected people’s interpretation of the American Dream.

Kindness Definition Essay Prompt

The concept of what it means to be kind is debated in religion, philosophy, and psychology. Writing about this topic will allow you to contemplate and look at it from different perspectives. Here are some exciting ideas to consider:

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  • Discuss the phenomenon of kindness and how it’s reflected in philosophy, religion, and literature.
  • Talk about the concept of kindness and its origin. You can see how people’s understanding of being kind has evolved through time. 
  • Interpret the phrase “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” You can discuss how this saying relates to people’s perception of kindness.
  • Talk about altruism and to what extent this principle reflects the meaning people attach to the word “kindness.”  

👍 70 Best Definition Essay Topics: Easy & Exciting

  • What is anarchism ?
  • What does “ commitment ” mean?
  • The ancient and modern concept of a healthy person.
  • Why does “break a leg” mean “good luck”?
  • How does the definition of mimesis change through time?
  • Define postmodern theatre and its elements. 
  • What is the difference between Platonic and Aristotelian understandings of mimesis?
  • What is euthanasia, and how is it different from assisted suicide ?
  • What is industrialization, and how does it affect our society ?
  • Define individualism from a psychological and sociological perspective.
  • How would you define grief ?
  • What is the poetry of mourning ?
  • The concept of independence .
  • What does it mean “to narrate” in literature ?
  • Define liberalism as a political ideology .
  • How does the concept of family vary depending on the culture ?
  • Egoism in psychology.
  • The meaning behind the phrase “ peace of mind.”
  • Interpreting Marxism .
  • What is metaphysics about? 
  • How would you define modernism in theatre?
  • Define Nietzsche’s ideas of nihilism.
  • Define the abolitionist movement in Western Europe and the Americas.
  • The origin of the word “science.” 
  • What is an eating disorder ?
  • What is Ziggurat, and how is it important to the ancient Mesopotamian culture ?
  • What is anorexia ?
  • The meaning of depression from a medical perspective.
  • What does bulking mean in sports?
  • People’s perception of sports as a hobby and as a career.
  • What does it mean to “do business”?
  • What is a kinetic sculpture? 
  • Papier-mâché and its place in sculpting.
  • The concept of death and how it affects people’s perception of life .
  • What is the origin and meaning of the word arena?
  • Religion as a belief and an institutionalized notion.
  • Define pacifism and what it means to be a pacifist .
  • How would you define artistic works through philosophy?
  • What is cultural pluralism ?
  • What does it mean to be responsible ?
  • What is “ common sense ?”
  • Define the modern phenomenon of cyberbullying.  
  • Ego and egoism : how are the two connected?
  • How would you define the word “rosary”?
  • Altruism and kindness: the definitions. 
  • People’s understanding of success in the 21st century .
  • What is the Indian reservation, and what historical importance does it have?  
  • Trauma in psychology. 
  • What is the equality of rights?
  • The image of a contemporary vs. ancient hero .
  • What is democracy?
  • What is an argument in writing?
  • What does it means to lose one’s identity ?
  • What is the meaning of identity in the cultural context ?
  • The concept of time in history.
  • The perspective on time: linear and circular. 
  • What does it mean to be confident ?
  • People’s perception of gender and the impact it has on society.
  • Define gothic literature and talk about its key features.
  • What does the word “ taboo ” means?
  • Define grotesque and its importance in art .
  • What is maturity in psychology? 
  • A butterfly effect in chaos theory .
  • The meaning of ethics in philosophy .
  • What does it mean to “fancy someone”?
  • The understanding of science in ancient Greece and philosophy .
  • People’s interpretation of art and beauty in the Middle Ages. 
  • What can be called poetry ?
  • What does it mean to “make a long story short”?
  • How people’s perception of war has been changing throughout history.

🏫 Definition Essay Topics for High School

  • What is global warming? 
  • How would you define progress? 
  • Define imperialism .
  • What is polynomial in mathematics? 
  • How are the ideas of imperialism reflected in Orwell’s essay Shooting an Elephant ?
  • The meaning of the hippie movement in the 60s and 70s.
  • How would you interpret the saying “a friend in need is a friend in deed?” 
  • What is the cultural meaning of the tea ceremony in Japan ?
  • Define teamwork in business.
  • What does it mean to be a good student? 
  • What is mass culture as opposed to popular culture?
  • The meaning of the phrase “ natural beauty .”
  • What does it mean to be a good role model ?
  • What is self-confidence ?
  • Intellectual and intelligent: is there any difference?
  • What is popular culture ?
  • Social media and its influence on teenagers’ communication skills .
  • Define parenthood .
  • What is alliteration in poetry?
  • What does it mean to be a reliable person?
  • What is classical music ?
  • How would you define happiness ?
  • Does social media increase people’s anxiety levels?
  • Why do smartphones decrease our attention span?
  • What can be considered an artwork ? 
  • Globalization in contemporary art .
  • The meaning and the usage of the term lithography.
  • Activism as an art form.
  • Explain the term decalcomania.
  • What does the expression “bite the bullet” mean?
  • What is biochemistry , and how is it used in nursing?
  • Astrophysics vs. astrochemistry: definition.
  • What is sarcasm? 
  • How would you define antisemitism?  
  • What does it mean to have a bad sense of humor? 
  • What does it mean “ to oppress ?”
  • Define careerism .
  • What is housing segregation ?
  • The concept of collectivism in communism.
  • The meaning of consumerism in the modern world.
  • What does it mean to be cynical?
  • Meaning of determinism in philosophy .
  • Define fascism during the Second World War. 
  • What are the fundamental principles of fatalism ?
  • The philosophy of finalism.
  • What is Hinduism ?
  • The critical points of liberal discourse.
  • What does it mean “to exploit”? 
  • What can be called “ realistic “?
  • What does it mean to be creative ? 

Feel free to explore our list of high school essay topics for more ideas.

🎓 Definition Essay Topics for College Students

  • Harlem Renaissance and Jazz Music. 
  • Define Jazz culture in the ’90s America.
  • What is capitalism?  
  • The meaning of calisthenics.
  • Define a nuclear family .
  • What is transcendentalism ?
  • Define surrealism in painting.
  • The relation between puritanism and capitalism.
  • What does it mean to have freedom of choice?
  • Capitalism vs. Communism : which one is more human-oriented? 
  • Does Jimi Hendrix’s performance of Star Spangled Banner in 1969 correspond with the definition of activism? 
  • The philosophy of absurdism in Albert Camus’s works . 
  • Impressionism vs. Expressionism: meanings .
  • How would you define a sense of responsibility ?
  • What is an operating system (Windows, Mac, etc.) ?
  • What does “ a start-up ” mean?
  • What is a farewell ?
  • Beauty standards in the 20 th century and medieval Europe.
  • Define the omniscient narrator in a novel .
  • How is French materialism different from American materialism?
  • Define the 3 rd wave of feminism .
  • Admiration and respect : differences in defining.
  • What is artificial intelligence ?
  • Define the concept of memory in history and science. 
  • What is a genetic code? 
  • Immunology and its impact on modern medicine. 
  • What is gene therapy ?
  • What are prions ?
  • How does drama translation differ from prose translation?
  • What is an extreme long shot, and how is it used in movies?
  • According to Structuralism , what are “Langue” and “Parole”? 
  • In your opinion, what is the main difference between Structuralism and Poststructuralism? 
  • Define the poetry of the Beat Generation.
  • The importance of Thought and Language in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 .
  • What is a loophole?
  • Define multiculturalism and its effect on society.
  • What is Brexit ? 
  • What is social identity ?
  • How does social media affect people’s idea of attractiveness? 
  • Male vs. female gaze : how it is used in cinema.
  • What makes something “addictive”? 
  • Define the Silent Movie Era as opposed to sound films .
  • The meaning of the American Dream as depicted in road movies.
  • What is so unique about film noir ?
  • The meaning of mental health portrayed in movies and how it affects people’s perception of it.
  • What is online education ?
  • Hip-hop culture and b-boying: definition and historical roots.
  • Define modern poetry .
  • What is blues , and how is it different from jazz?
  • Define imagism in poetry . 

Want more essay ideas? Check out our list of essay ideas for college students !

  • Science is not always precise.
  • Sports should be encouraged more.
  • Should uniform in school be obligatory?
  • What are the effects of global warming ?
  • Pros and cons of the death penalty .
  • Do students benefit from assignments ?
  • Ways to deal with drug abuse .
  • Why should childbirth be encouraged? 
  • Natural food is more beneficial for health than manufactured products.
  • Children should be taught about sex from an early age.
  • Education has no actual value in the modern world.
  • Does the legalization of drugs have a positive or negative effect on society ?
  • Why is diet more effective than doing sports for losing weight? 
  • Working out is beneficial for mental health . 
  • The Keto diet doesn’t work for everyone.
  • Weightlifting helps with weight loss .
  • Natural protein is better than protein supplements. 
  • Does the level of emotional affect depend on gender? 
  • The reasons why we should ban factory farming .
  • Animal testing is unethical .
  • Farm animals should not be treated with antibiotics. 
  • Should vaccination be mandatory ?
  • Is there a way to store nuclear waste safely?
  • Plastic surgery reinforces beauty standards.
  • Is vaping less harmful than smoking?
  • Animal testing is a necessary evil.
  • The benefits of animal-assisted therapy .
  • Advertising can be considered an art form. 
  • Animal euthanasia should be illegal. 
  • There should be no mandatory military service .
  • Education should be free .
  • Is a vegan diet beneficial for your health? 
  • Should parents limit screen time for their children ? 
  • Unpaid internships should be illegal.
  • Should teachers be able to express their political views freely?
  • Schools should start later. 
  • Should the grading system be abolished?
  • Art should not be censored.
  • Video games can be good for children’s development.
  • It is essential to encourage kids to do sports. 
  • Live-action movies are better than animated ones .
  • GMOs are not safe for consumption and should be banned. 
  • Should children own personal mobile phones ?
  • Reading helps to develop creativity.
  • Group training and mental help services are essential for large organizations .
  • Does the use of outsourcing take away legal responsibilities?
  • Technology affects the way businesses deal with their failures.
  • Is it morally acceptable to advertise to minors? 

When it comes to the definition argument essay, you may need to do a little more research and support your ideas with some strong arguments. First, you need to introduce the issue, state the claim and define the key term. Then you can present your arguments to prove your point and convince the reader. For more ideas, check out our list of argumentative topics .

🤯 Controversial Definition Essay Topics

  • What are the benefits of sex education in school ?
  • What is a polyamorous relationship ?
  • The meaning of death penalties. 
  • What can be considered a mental disorder? 
  • Different perceptions of age in various cultures.
  • What is abortion ?
  • People’s changing attitude towards childbirth .
  • Define assisted suicide .
  • What is taurobolium in religious cults?
  • The meaning and benefits of gun control .
  • Free journalism doesn’t exist anymore: is it true?
  • Define violence in video games .
  • What is internet addiction ?
  • The meaning of love in popular culture.
  • How polygamy is understood in modern society.
  • What is cannibalism ?
  • The usage of the n-word: who has the right to say it?
  • The perception of underage marriages in different cultures.
  • What is artificial insemination?
  • What are the negative aspects of the feminist movement? 
  • What is considered explicit content? 
  • How would you define consciousness ?
  • What is home-schooling ?
  • Define prostitution in ancient Greece.
  • What is a prison in the cultural context?
  • What can be called “ censorship “?
  • Define “a man” and “a woman.” 
  • Define climate change and its impact on social movements.
  • What is illegal immigration, and what are its leading causes ?
  • What is a “ prescription drug “?
  • Vaping vs. smoking : definition.
  • What is an ethical zoo ?
  • Explain the meaning of the word “crime.”  
  • What does the word “ gender ” means?
  • Define the word “ orphan. ”
  • Define the LGBTQ + rights movement.
  • What does “gender-neutral” mean?
  • The meaning and benefits of conventional medicine. 
  • Cancel culture: what is it ?
  • What is anorexia in a medical context? 
  • The most common side effects of war .

Some issues cause controversy due to people’s divided opinions and feelings about them. You may want to pay special attention to those topics and be more careful while discussing them. For more ideas, check out our list of controversial issues .

🎈 Funny Definition Essay Topics

  • What does it mean to be an expert in gaming? 
  • What are the implications behind the phrase “I got a nice job”? 
  • What does “chilling” mean?
  • Describe the various meanings of the verb “to quit” and its usage.  
  • Define the worst tattoo ever.
  • What kind of song can be called a love ballad ?
  • What does a “dirty joke” mean?
  • Define stand-up comedy .
  • How would you interpret the phrase “couch potato”?
  • Define humor in Family Guy .
  • What does “drama queen” mean?
  • Stereotypes and how they are used in movies and books.
  • What does it mean to “skip classes”?
  • What does “pulling an all-nighter” mean?
  • What are good drinking habits? 
  • Reasons why silly movies make you feel good about yourself.
  • What does “friendship zone” mean?
  • In your opinion, what qualities does one need to have to be described as a player?
  • What does it mean to “have a crush”?
  • What does “to break up” mean? 
  • Define femininity and its attributes.
  • What does the word “frenemies” mean?
  • What dishes can be called Mediterranean?
  • What does it mean to have a “cat nap”?
  • What is a horoscope, and why are people so obsessed with it?
  • How do you understand the expression “fake person”?
  • What does it mean to be attractive ?
  • What is a Quentin Tarantino movie? 
  • What does it mean to be a narcissist ?
  • Where does the phrase “sweet tooth” comes from? 
  • Define gen Z .
  • How would you define fashion ?
  • What does the phrase “Netflix and chill” mean?
  • What does it mean “ to cheat ” on someone?
  • Who are “boomers” ?
  • What is WWE , and what social impact does it have on young people?
  • Define cringe comedy and what makes it special.
  • What does the internet slang word “simp” mean?
  • What is a good selfie ?
  • The meaning behind the “blondes are stupid” stereotype. 
  • What does it mean to be a “ gym rat”?
  • What does it mean “to split the check”?
  • What is binge-watching?
  • What does it mean to be obsessed ?
  • What is lactose intolerance?
  • Define a trend and its social effect.  

Need even more ideas? Find them in our funny topics list !

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

📚 Other Definition Essay Topics

Extended Definition Essay Topics

  • The meaning of sensitivity  .
  • What makes a good husband ? 
  • How do you define a mature person? 
  • What does it mean to be a good person ? 
  • What makes someone trustworthy ? 
  • What does it mean to be conservative ? 
  • How to know if someone is being sexist . 
  • What does it take to be charismatic ? 
  • How do you define a happy marriage ? 
  • What makes someone a hero ?
  • What is happiness for you ?
  • Explain what it means to be a charismatic leader .
  • What is humor ?
  • How can we define laziness ?

Definitions can be extended, formal, or informal.

  • Describe the characteristics of true leadership .
  • Determine what can be called common sense .
  • What constitutes progress ?
  • What does it mean to be proud? 
  • How can we define loyalty ? 
  • Point out the implications of the word “pessimism.” 
  • How do people show courage ?
  • What does it mean to respect yourself?

Extended definition essays need enough room for elaborate explanation and illustration. Unlike ordinary definition papers, they are more general. Besides, they are open to discussion, counterarguments, and doubts. Because of this, abstract concepts are an excellent starting point for a paper.

Society Definition Essay Topics

  • What makes a good person ? 
  • Explain how you understand equality. 
  • How can you define globalization ?
  • What does the term “white privilege” signify ?
  • What does “family” mean? 
  • Determine the meaning of the word “ respect ” in today’s society.
  • What does it mean to become an adult ?
  • What is feminism ?
  • When can a system be called just?  
  • Explain what patriarchy is.
  • When is a child well-behaved?
  • What do the words “masculinity” and “femininity” mean to you?
  • What does the concept of the “glass ceiling” signify ?
  • Determine how peer pressure manifests itself.
  • How can you define the term “mansplaining”?

Definition essays on society analyze social structures and human interaction. An individual’s perspective on society stems from various influences. It includes their cultural background, age, and gender. Choose one of the following prompts, and ask your relatives or friends what they think about it. You can find some additional helpful ideas in our sociology topics list .

History Definition Essay Topics

  • What can we call a revolution ?
  • Define a hippie movement. 
  • Explain who the Suffragettes were .
  • What was the Land of Punt?
  • What is colonization? 
  • What does independence mean for a country? 
  • What makes something “historic”? 
  • Explain the “Lebensreform” movement of the 1920s.
  • Who were the Untouchables?
  • Which events designate the end of the Medieval Period? 
  • Define the White movement during the Russian revolution. 
  • What was the Arab Spring? 
  • Explain who Joan of Arc was. 
  • What does the term “ Antebellum South ” signify?
  • What was the Pastry War?

Learning from history is integral to progress. If we understand our past failures, we can shape a better future. Writing about history grants exciting insights into various issues. There are even more essay ideas in our history topics list .

Politics Definition Essay Topics

  • What does “ anarchism ” mean?
  • How does the system of checks and balances work ?
  • Explain what constitutes liberal ideology. 
  • How does democracy work?
  • How can you define monarchy ?
  • Determine when a regime can be called totalitarian.
  • Define the meaning of the word “politics.” 
  • What is McCarthyism? 
  • What does it take to be a political party ?
  • What are the implications of the word “democracy”? 
  • Describe a society that can be called communist .
  • What defines a capitalistic system? 

Four types of political systems.

  • How do electoral systems work? 
  • How can you define the term “witch hunt”? 
  • What is Gerrymandering? 

Definition essays on politics explore mechanisms of governance. There are only four major types of political systems, but there are infinite ways to implement them. Additionally, you can consult our list of compelling political topics to look into .

Mass Media Definition Essay Topics

  • The origin of the word “media.” 
  • What does the term “ mainstream ” entail?
  • What is the purpose of broadcasting ?
  • Define the different types of mass media .
  • What is cross-media publishing? 
  • Define the term “publicity.”
  • What makes a good cover story?
  • Explain what television is. 
  • Describe different types of news articles. 
  • Define the word “communication.”
  • How does propaganda work? 
  • What is gonzo journalism ?
  • Come up with the definition of the word “sensationalism.”
  • What does “gatekeeping” mean?
  • How can you explain what “radio” is ?

Mass media is various means of communication aiming to reach as much of the public as possible. Nowadays, it is nearly inescapable, which makes it an interesting subject to investigate.

Culture Definition Essay Topics

  • What does the term “ belief ” mean to you?
  • What makes a culture diverse? 
  • How does a culture shock feel ?
  • How is the notion of “global village” defined? 
  • What does “stereotype” mean ?
  • What is “cultural appropriation” ?
  • What topics can be called taboo? 
  • Explain the notion of “ zeitgeist. ”
  • What is “secularization” ?
  • Define the word “ ritual. ”
  • What does your culture consider traditional values ? 
  • What does the notion of “civilization” describe ?

Franklin D. Roosevelt quote.

  • Explain what cultural techniques are.
  • What is “ everyday life ”?
  • What type of culture is agriculture ?

Culture encompasses abstract notions such as rituals, norms, and manners. Simply put, it has everything to do with people’s way of living. Besides, it expands into the worlds of art, religion, and law. Want some more ideas? Read our extensive list of culture essay topics .

Science and Technology Definition Essay Topics

  • What are fossil fuels ?
  • How does an area become polluted ?
  • How can you define renewable energy sources ?
  • Explain what the term “smart technology” means. 
  • How does a CPU work? 
  • Define the word “technology.”
  • What does the term “ science ” encompass?
  • What defines a vegetable? 
  • What is energy ?
  • What characterizes digital data ?
  • How does blockchain work? 
  • What is weather ?
  • Explain the use of cryptocurrency .
  • Where did the term “ ecology ” originate?
  • Define the notion of time .

Technology becomes increasingly important with each passing day. The IT sector is developing particularly fast. For more inspiration, visit our page with topics on science and technology .

Sports Definition Essay Topics

  • What does it mean to be in shape?
  • What were the ancient Olympics ?

The first ever Olympic Games took place in 776 B.C.

  • Explain the difference between American football and rugby. 
  • What makes a good chess player? 
  • When does an activity become a sport? 
  • Explain the word “agility.” 
  • What are the typical forms of indoor sports ?
  • What is the Tough Mudder?
  • Define the difference between a sport and a game .
  • What does the term “ fitness ” signify?
  • What does it mean to be athletic ? 
  • When does a sport become a niche sport? 
  • What is chess boxing?
  • What makes a good football player ?
  • What constitutes the different types of wrestling? 

Some enjoy sport as a healthy past-time activity. Others prefer to watch it on TV after a long day. With that in mind, it’s unsurprising that sport is one of the world’s biggest industries. You can find more ideas in our list of topics on sports .

Philosophy Definition Essay Topics

  • How does boredom manifest itself? 
  • What does it mean to be beautiful? 
  • How can you define the word “ freedom ”?
  • What does “friendship” mean ?
  • Define the word “ passion. ”
  • What is devotion?
  • What does the notion of “home” mean to you ?
  • How can you define an aura?
  • Explain the Categorical Imperative .
  • What makes someone a villain ?
  • Determine the meaning of the word “ justice. ”
  • What does it mean to love someone or something ?
  • What acts show that a person is selfish ?
  • What does it mean to be human? 
  • How does hatred show itself? 

“I know that I know nothing.” To this day, Socrates is the prime example of a philosopher. However, philosophy is much more than a profession of ancient times. If you like pondering abstract concepts, have a look at our list of philosophy topics .

✅ Definition Essay Outline Structure & Writing Tips

Definition essay: before you start.

Step #1: Select a topic.

First of all, if your teacher has not specified a theme, you need to select a topic. It can be a subject you know well or something you care about. A bit of research prior to choosing a theme can help pinpoint potential problems. A good idea would be to use a  topic generator for writing .

Step #2: Consider the audience.

Start by creating an outline and organizing your arguments. In doing so, keep your audience in mind. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will read your essay?
  • What do they already know about the subject?
  • Are you addressing a specific group?

Identifying the audience helps to prevent under- or over-explanation. If you know who you are writing for, you know what kind of language to use.

Step #3: Choose a strategy.

Each type of academic writing has its own set of requirements. A definition paper needs to contain an explanation of a concept. Here are different strategies of explaining that you can use in an essay:

  • By denotation.  Denotation explains a term through its literal meaning. You can find it in a dictionary. Example: According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, nature is “a creative and controlling force in the universe”. 
  • By connotation.  Connotation deals with the implications of a word. It can be positive, negative, or neutral. Have a look at this example: even though “old” and “vintage” have the same denotation, the connotation for “vintage” is more positive. Example: My grandfather calls himself vintage, but I just think he’s old. 
  • By negation.  Negation defines what the term is not. Example: Freedom is not the absence of handcuffs. 
  • By analogy.  An analogy juxtaposes two things that are similar to each other. Example: Socks are like cages for the feet. 
  • By enumeration.  An enumeration is a list of words that serve as an explanation. Example: A hero is someone who is genuinely selfless, helps other people, and wears a cape. 

Definition Essay Introduction

An introduction is the opening part of your essay, which sets the tone and piques the reader’s interest. In this part, you can briefly introduce the topic and develop a strong thesis statement.

  • Start with a nice hook that draws attention to the subject.
  • Follow it with a transition sentence that leads to the thesis.
  • A good thesis statement usually gives its reader a clearly stated definition. That way, they can prepare themselves for the discussion and easily follow your paper.

Definition Essay Body

The body of your essay is a part that includes all the information you want to present to the reader. How you divide your body paragraphs and how many of them you have in your paper depends on the topic and how you choose to present it.

  • Usually, the body consists of two to four paragraphs.
  • Each body paragraph needs to include a topic sentence, which explains to the reader what this particular paragraph will discuss.
  • Every new definition, idea, or argument should be explored in a separate paragraph. That makes your essay more cohesive and professional.

Definition Essay Conclusion

Wrap thing up with a good conclusion. This part of the essay usually summarizes most information from the body and reminds readers of the thesis.

  • The summary shouldn’t be elaborate or too long. Only mention the key points.
  • When you go back to the thesis statement, don’t use it in the exact same form, but rephrase the sentence while keeping the meaning.

📑 Definition Essay Example: Beauty

So we’ve mentioned all the essential points that can help you write a definition essay. Below, you will find an excellent sample you can use as reference or inspiration while working on your paper. You’re welcome to download the PDF file below:

Throughout centuries people have struggled to define the true meaning of beauty. This phenomenon has been and still is discussed in various literary works and movies. People strive to be beautiful, or they try to find beauty in their life. This essay will argue that beauty is an immense concept with aesthetical and sensual value and varies from person to person.

Definition of Beauty

We hope that this article will help you write a perfect essay! Don’t hesitate and start writing your own definition essay. If you have any questions or ideas on this topic, feel free to share them in the comment section.

  • How to Write a Definition Essay: St. Cloud State University
  • Definition Essay: Excelsior College OWL
  • Vocabulary: Political Words: Scholastic
  • Science and Technology: British Council
  • NTID-Supported Athletes at RIT: Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Glossary of Philosophical Terms: Oxford University Press
  • Basic World History Terms and Definitions: Quia
  • Essay Structure: Harvard University
  • The Definition Essay: Dallas Baptist University
  • How to Write an Introduction to an Essay: BBC
  • Definition Essays: Reed College
  • Essay Writing Tips: Deakin University
  • Essay Body Paragraphs: Massey University
  • Conclusions: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Negation: Stanford University
  • Enumeration: Literary Devices
  • “Denotation” vs. “Connotation”: What’s The Difference?:
  • Before You Start Writing That Paper: University of California, Berkeley
  • Essay Planning: Outlining with a Purpose: San José State University
  • Writing an Outline for Your Essay: Carleton University
  • What Is Analogy? Definition and Examples of Analogy in Literature: MasterClass
  • Writing Your Conclusion: The University of Sydney
  • Identifying Audiences: Purdue University
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10.6 Definition

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of the definition essay.
  • Understand how to write a definition essay.

The Purpose of Definition in Writing

The purpose of a definition essay may seem self-explanatory: the purpose of the definition essay is to simply define something. But defining terms in writing is often more complicated than just consulting a dictionary. In fact, the way we define terms can have far-reaching consequences for individuals as well as collective groups.

Take, for example, a word like alcoholism . The way in which one defines alcoholism depends on its legal, moral, and medical contexts. Lawyers may define alcoholism in terms of its legality; parents may define alcoholism in terms of its morality; and doctors will define alcoholism in terms of symptoms and diagnostic criteria. Think also of terms that people tend to debate in our broader culture. How we define words, such as marriage and climate change , has enormous impact on policy decisions and even on daily decisions. Think about conversations couples may have in which words like commitment , respect , or love need clarification.

Defining terms within a relationship, or any other context, can at first be difficult, but once a definition is established between two people or a group of people, it is easier to have productive dialogues. Definitions, then, establish the way in which people communicate ideas. They set parameters for a given discourse, which is why they are so important.

When writing definition essays, avoid terms that are too simple, that lack complexity. Think in terms of concepts, such as hero , immigration , or loyalty , rather than physical objects. Definitions of concepts, rather than objects, are often fluid and contentious, making for a more effective definition essay.

Writing at Work

Definitions play a critical role in all workplace environments. Take the term sexual harassment , for example. Sexual harassment is broadly defined on the federal level, but each company may have additional criteria that define it further. Knowing how your workplace defines and treats all sexual harassment allegations is important. Think, too, about how your company defines lateness , productivity , or contributions .

On a separate sheet of paper, write about a time in your own life in which the definition of a word, or the lack of a definition, caused an argument. Your term could be something as simple as the category of an all-star in sports or how to define a good movie. Or it could be something with higher stakes and wider impact, such as a political argument. Explain how the conversation began, how the argument hinged on the definition of the word, and how the incident was finally resolved.


Please share with a classmate and compare your responses.

The Structure of a Definition Essay

The definition essay opens with a general discussion of the term to be defined. You then state as your thesis your definition of the term.

The rest of the essay should explain the rationale for your definition. Remember that a dictionary’s definition is limiting, and you should not rely strictly on the dictionary entry. Instead, consider the context in which you are using the word. Context identifies the circumstances, conditions, or setting in which something exists or occurs. Often words take on different meanings depending on the context in which they are used. For example, the ideal leader in a battlefield setting could likely be very different than a leader in an elementary school setting. If a context is missing from the essay, the essay may be too short or the main points could be confusing or misunderstood.

The remainder of the essay should explain different aspects of the term’s definition. For example, if you were defining a good leader in an elementary classroom setting, you might define such a leader according to personality traits: patience, consistency, and flexibility. Each attribute would be explained in its own paragraph.

For definition essays, try to think of concepts that you have a personal stake in. You are more likely to write a more engaging definition essay if you are writing about an idea that has personal value and importance.

It is a good idea to occasionally assess your role in the workplace. You can do this through the process of definition. Identify your role at work by defining not only the routine tasks but also those gray areas where your responsibilities might overlap with those of others. Coming up with a clear definition of roles and responsibilities can add value to your résumé and even increase productivity in the workplace.

On a separate sheet of paper, define each of the following items in your own terms. If you can, establish a context for your definition.

  • Consumer culture

Writing a Definition Essay

Choose a topic that will be complex enough to be discussed at length. Choosing a word or phrase of personal relevance often leads to a more interesting and engaging essay.

After you have chosen your word or phrase, start your essay with an introduction that establishes the relevancy of the term in the chosen specific context. Your thesis comes at the end of the introduction, and it should clearly state your definition of the term in the specific context. Establishing a functional context from the beginning will orient readers and minimize misunderstandings.

The body paragraphs should each be dedicated to explaining a different facet of your definition. Make sure to use clear examples and strong details to illustrate your points. Your concluding paragraph should pull together all the different elements of your definition to ultimately reinforce your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample definition essay.

Create a full definition essay from one of the items you already defined in Note 10.64 “Exercise 2” . Be sure to include an interesting introduction, a clear thesis, a well-explained context, distinct body paragraphs, and a conclusion that pulls everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • Definitions establish the way in which people communicate ideas. They set parameters for a given discourse.
  • Context affects the meaning and usage of words.
  • The thesis of a definition essay should clearly state the writer’s definition of the term in the specific context.
  • Body paragraphs should explain the various facets of the definition stated in the thesis.
  • The conclusion should pull all the elements of the definition together at the end and reinforce the thesis.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

How To Write a Definition Essay Outline?

26 May, 2020

11 minutes read

Author:  Tomas White

Defining a concept or a notion in the form of an essay is quite common among the students. This is one of the classic assignments young people get at colleges and universities. Its creation starts with crafting an outline. And even though they often face the necessity to deal with this task, not all students know how to write a definition essay outline. We have written this guide that will explain the process in details. So, if you're looking for a clear explanation of what an outline for such an essay looks like, search no more: it's all here!

Definition Essay Outline

 What is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay works to provide the nitty-gritty details about a word or concept.  For example, in an art class, you may be asked to write a definition essay on Vermillion (a vivid reddish-orange color) or Cubism, a specific approach to creating art.  A definition essay should always focus on a complex subject; simple subjects won’t provide enough details to adequately write an essay.  While the subject may change, the structure of an essay remains the same. All definition essays should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Related posts: How to write an Essay outline  | How to write an Essay introduction  

Types of Definition Essays

Professors often assign definition essays towards the beginning of a class. The focus of this type of essay is to explore a specific concept.  These concepts are often divided into one of three categories:

Abstract Concepts

In this type of essay, the assignment explores how to fully define a difficult topic. By definition, an abstract concept is one that is vast and complicated. Examples of abstract concepts include liberty, ambition, love, hate, generosity, and pride. The focus of the essay should be to break down the concept into more manageable parts for the audience.

Focus on a place

Definition essays that focus on a place tend to explore a specific type of place and how you as the writer view this particular place. Types of places which may be assigned are a country, state, city, neighborhood, park, house, or a room. The place may be huge or small. A key to writing a good definition essay focused on the place is to select a specific place you are familiar with; it shouldn’t be a place you need to research — it should be a place that you know intimately.

An Adjective

An adjective essay focuses on creating a definition for an adjective. Common topics may include describing a “good” or “bad” friend, present, or law. The focus of the essay should explore the qualities and characteristics of a good friend or a bad present.

“I need someone to write my essay!” – That’s something we hear a lot. The good news is that you are in the right place to find help. HandMadeWriting is the best essay writing service on the web.

Perfecting the Definition Essay Outline – and Beyond!

What to do before starting to write?

Before sitting down to write a definition essay, you’ll need to make out all the parts to the whole.  In other words, how, exactly, will you define the subject of the essay?  You’ll need to consider all the different parts, or the gears, that make the clockwork.  Once you’ve brainstormed the parts, you’re ready to create an outline, and then write some paragraphs.

The outline for this essay is as easy as in five paragraph essay – it contains an introduction , body paragraphs , and a conclusion . The number of body paragraphs is determined by how many aspects you’re subject needs defined.  This type of essay is exactly what it sounds like: it works to define a specific word or concept.

Take Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s advice when writing:  “Never say more than is necessary.”

So, here is what constitutes the outline of the definition essay:

Outline of the definition essay

Introduction Paragraph

An introduction paragraph should act as a gateway to the subject of the definition essay.  Use this paragraph to gently introduce the subject, and gain the reader’s interest.

This paragraph should begin with an attention grabber  (the “hook”) that makes the reader curious and want to read more.  Quotations are always a great idea as are interesting facts.  Next, provide background details that the reader will need to understand the concept or idea to be defined in the body paragraphs.

Unlike other papers, like cause and effect essay , the definition essay is unique in that it requires the writer to provide the dictionary definition of the word, and then the thesis definition .  Since dictionary definitions are often dry and narrow, the thesis definition is your opportunity truly encompass the complexity of the word.

Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph should focus on a different aspect that contributes to the overall definition of the subject being discussed in the definition essay.

A definition essay typically contains three body paragraphs, although there can be more if the writer desires.  The first body paragraph delves into the origin of the word and how it became mainstreamed into the language.  This paragraph can talk about any root words, prefixes, and/or suffixes in the word, as well as the evolution of the word (if there is one).

Dictionary Definition

The second body paragraph should focus on the dictionary definition, and how the word can be used in writing and conversation.  For example, love can appear as several different parts of speech; it can be a noun, verb, or adjective.

The third body paragraph, and often the longest one, should focus on conveying the writer’s definition of the word.  This definition should be based on both the writer’s personal experience as well as research.

Don’t be afraid to be bold – describe this word in a way that no one else has!  Be original; describe the word as a color or animal, and defend your choice.  Provide examples of the word in action and maintain the reader’s engagement at all costs.  Aim for sentences like this:

Quixotic describes the eternal quest of optimistic individuals striving to find the magical, the visionary, the idealistic experiences in life despite all obstacles and naysayers.

This exists as an excellent sentence because it provides clues as to the type of word quixotic is by pairing it with magical, visionary, and idealistic.  By stating that it’s a word optimistic individuals would gravitate towards, the audience inherently understands it’s more positive than negative.

Indeed, the third body paragraph should focus on communicating the writer’s comprehension of the concept, idea or term.

Conclusion Paragraph

Just because this is the shortest paragraph, doesn’t mean that it will be the easiest to write.  In fact, the better the body paragraphs are, the easier writing the conclusion paragraph will be.

Because a good conclusion paragraph reiterates the main points stated in each body paragraph.  If the body paragraphs are clear and avoid rambling, pulling the main ideas for the conclusion will be easy!  Just remember: you don’t want to repeat yourself word for word, but you do want to echo your main ideas; so summarize yourself instead of copy and pasting.

Many professors may create the definition essay as a personal writing assignment.  If this is the case, then it would be appropriate to also discuss what the word or concept means personally to you.  Select an example in your own life and validate your descriptions of the word.

Definition Essay Outline Example

Once you got the concept of your future essay wrapped up, it’s time to put things to the practice and create an outline. Here is what your outline might look like. Our topic is:   Love .

Definition Essay Outline Example

Be sure to check the sample essay, completed by our writers. Use it as an example to write your own argumentative essay. Link:  Essay sample: Team Norms and Procedures .

Tips on Writing a Definition Essay from Our Experts

definition essay

Need some advice from our pro essay writer ? We’ve got you covered.  Here are some great tips on how to write an A-level definition essay:

  • When writing a definition essay, keep the sentences simple when you can ; however, occasionally, you’ll need to create longer, more descriptive sentences.  Consider juxtaposing short sentences with longer ones to maintain reader interest.
  • Incorporate literary devices when trying to define an abstract word or concept. Check out this example:  Love is a campfire on a chilly November evening.  Its warmth glides over your entire being, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes – but watch out: get too close, and you’ll catch fire and burn.
  • Stuck on deciding on a topic? If you get to select your own topic, remember that selecting an abstract topic is best : love, forgiveness, contentment, or hero are all great options.  Don’t fall into the trap of selecting a topic with too many aspects to define such as the history of man.
  • Select a topic that allows plenty of original description – that’s the goal: to describe a concept in such a way that hasn’t been done before. Be original:  state the history and the original of the word and then delve into your perception of it.
  • Finally, begin early .  Create an outline to help organize your idea, and then begin the research process to determine the origin of the word as well as its evolution.  Consider answering such questions as who created the word (Did you know Shakespeare coined the words lonely and majestic?), how it has evolved, and whether it has multiple parts of speech.  The more questions you answer, the more definition will be put into your essay! Visit our Guide page to learn more about academic paper writing!

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How to Write a Definition Essay (Plus Topics You Can Use and a Sample Essay)

Tonya Thompson

Beginning an academic program can be an overwhelming prospect, particularly if you are uncomfortable with writing academic essays. Most programs will require multiple writing assignments on a weekly basis, with different types of essays being assigned based on the class content and professor's preferences. You'll need to be able to research a topic, create an essay outline based on that research, and write the essay using your research and outline as your guides.

Some essay assignments are a lot easier than others and the definition essay is one such type. A definition essay is exactly what it sounds like it should be: An essay you write to provide your reader with the definition of a word. However, it's more in-depth than simply writing a dictionary definition. You'll need to be able to put the definition in your own words, as well as provide examples of how that word is used in various contexts. You'll also need to be able to discuss the connotation and denotation of the word, which are terms we will clarify below.

So, let's look over some common questions academic writers have about a definition essay and clarify them.

A definition essay goes beyond simply stating a word's dictionary definition.

What is the typical length of a definition essay?

Since the purpose of a definition essay is generally limited to defining one word, the length of the essay should be around 1 to 2 pages, if double-spaced. Within these paragraphs, you will cover various aspects of the definition, including how the word can be interpreted in multiple contexts and some examples of the word in a sentence.

What is included in a definition essay?

Although a definition essay is meant to define a word, you can't just copy the dictionary definition and be done with it. For a definition essay, you'll need to use your own words to define the term, including its connotation and denotation. Putting the definition in your own words makes your definition essay more interesting to your reader, who could just look the word up in the dictionary if all they're interested in is a dictionary definition.

Dictionaries also don't include multiple examples of the word used in context, so adding this element to your definition essay makes it more interested for your reader, allowing them to learn something they might not otherwise learn.

What is the difference between connotation and denotation?

Obviously, in order to include these within your definition essay, you need to understand the difference between the two. Below, we cover the definitions of connotation and denotation, as well as offer some examples of how this terminology applies to vocabulary words.


According to Merriam-Webster (, the connotation of a word is:

1a. something suggested or implied by a word or thing; 1b. the suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes

According to Merriam-Webster , the denotation of a word is:

1a. A direct specific meaning as distinct from an implied or associated idea

Connotation vs. denotation

So, when looking at the difference between the two, you have to consider how the English language contains words that have both a literal and implied meaning. For example, when we look at the word "home," we can consider its literal definition (or denotation), which is a building that is someone's (or a family's) living space.

However, when we consider its metaphorical meaning, we think of "home" as a place of security and comfort, such as "this place feels like home." In this sense, we are using the word's connotation instead of its denotation, or literal meaning.

How should I outline my definition essay?

Even though your definition essay will be around a page or two, at most, in length, you'll still need to follow a typical essay outline when writing it. A typical essay outline includes the introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Thus, your definition essay outline might look something like this:

  • Mention the purpose of the essay (which is to define the term)
  • A thesis statement that covers both the connotation and denotation of the term (in your own words)
  • The origin of the term and other etymological information the reader might find interesting
  • The denotation of the term (in your own words)
  • Offer examples
  • The connotation of the term (in your own words)
  • A brief restatement of the definition of the term
  • Additional information about the term your reader would find interesting

How To Write a Concluding Paragraph

What are some possible definition essay topics?

If you're given the opportunity to determine your own topic for the definition essay assignment, it's a good idea to pick a term that you are familiar with, can define in your own words, and can discuss at length. Here are some ideas:

  • How do you define world peace?
  • What is your definition of family?
  • What does the word "ego" mean to you?
  • What is social media and how is it best defined?
  • Define nanotechnology
  • What is depression?
  • What is your definition of a hero?
  • How would you define a successful career?
  • What is a team player and how would you define one?
  • Define Capitalism and what it means to you.

Sample definition essay

Below is a sample definition essay for the word "love". Since many terms have several possible definitions and connotations, for a more interesting definition essay, try to choose a word that is not easily defined.

Sample Essay

The word "love" is used in various contexts and can mean different things to different people. There are also different types of love that are referred to in Ancient Greek writing that span everything from unconditional love to obsessive love. This essay will take a look at the meaning of the word—both its denotation and connotation—and explore some examples of how the word might be used in context.

With Germanic origins, the word "love" comes from the Old English "lufu." The root is a mix of Indo-European words, including the Sanskrit word "lubhyati," which means "desires," the Latin word "libet," which means "it is pleasing," and the Latin word "libido," which means "desire."

Merriam-Webster online offers several definitions of the word. Love can be a strong affection for another person based on familial or sexual ties. It can also be an attachment or devotion to an object or person. Thus, the denotation of the word "love" is an extreme affection or attachment to another based on shared history, family connection, or intimacy. In this sense, one might say: "I love my wife and want what's best for her."

The word "love" could hold various connotations for someone, depending on their experience with the emotion. For some, "love" might be a goal in a relationship or a feeling that is intensely intimate and important. For others, "love" could be something to avoid to keep from getting hurt or opening one's self up to potential betrayal. Beyond these associations, the word "love" can also be used when referring to an object or activity that one values or enjoys. For example, "I love going on walks by the beach" or "I love the architecture on this building" are ways the word "love" could be used in a sentence to show an affinity for an activity or object.

The Ancient Greeks believed that there were different types of love and labeled them based on the various emotions that one might feel toward another. For them, love was divided into: Agape (unconditional love), Eros (romantic love), Philia (affectionate love), Philautia (self-love), Storge (familiar love), Pragma (enduring love), Ludus (playful love), and Mania (obsessive love).

Ultimately, the word "love" can mean different things depending on context and the speaker's association with the word. While its most common definition refers to a close tie and intimacy with another person, it can also be used in reference to an affinity for an object or activity. In this situation, it's often used as synonymous with the words "like" or "enjoy" instead of referring to a close, intimate connection or feeling for another person.

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  1. How to Write a Definition Essay: Writing Guide with Sample Essays

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  2. Definition Essay Examples and Topic Ideas

    topics to write a definition essay on

  3. How to Write a Definition Essay: Writing Guide with Sample Essays

    topics to write a definition essay on

  4. How to Write a Definition Essay: Writing Guide with Sample Essays

    topics to write a definition essay on

  5. Definition Essay: Topics, Tips and Outline

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  6. 😍 Definition essay ideas. How to Write a Definition Essay. 2022-11-01

    topics to write a definition essay on


  1. Term to DEFINE for Research Paper

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  1. 150 Best Definition Essay Topics For Students

    Unique Definition Essay Topics. The quirkiness of 'fam': exploring unconventional family structures. The essence of 'chill': beyond a relaxing vibe. Defining 'awkward': navigating social discomfort. The true meaning of 'indie': beyond music and film. The 'vibe' culture: capturing the unspoken atmosphere.

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    History Definition Essay Topics List. Revolution: Catalysts and Consequences. Empire: Rise, Dominion, and Decline. Renaissance: A Rebirth of Culture and Knowledge. Nationalism: Its Impact on World History. Colonialism: Legacy and Liberation. Industrial Revolution: Transforming Societies and Economies.

  3. 200 Interesting Definition Essay Topics & Ideas

    The abstract definition essay topics discussed will help you explore complex concepts and go beyond surface-level definitions. Definition Essay Structure. When it comes to writing a definition essay, there is a standard structure that you must follow. The main steps for writing a definition essay are:

  4. Uncovering Endless Inspiration for Your Essay

    How to Write a Definition Essay: 6 Simple Tips. When selecting topics for definition essay, keep these expert tips in mind for successful writing: Choose Wisely: Opt for more informative essay topics that go beyond simple nouns or verbs like 'swimming' or 'necklace.'. Focus on processes or concepts that offer depth.

  5. How to Write a Definition Essay. Fresh Topics&Examples

    Here's what you need to include: Start with something attention-grabbing, like a thought-provoking question or an interesting fact. Provide a brief overview of the topic and why it's important to define it. Clearly state the term you're defining and your interpretation of it. Definition Essay Body Paragraphs.

  6. Definition Essay Topics: Step By Step Guide

    A definition essay is a common writing assignment in schools and universities. Put simply, It asks a student to choose a word and define it in-depth. The common dictionary definition is the first thing to state (in your own words), then the lesser-known meanings of the concept, followed by personal anecdotes and opinions further explaining the ...

  7. 200 Best Definition Essay Topics

    Top 200 Definition Essay Topics For All. April 20, 2021. Essay writing can be hard if you don't have the right essay topics. Most students need to make sure they choose a topic that they can adequately research, organize, and write about. A definition essay is a type of writing assignment that asks students to define a term, concept, or idea.

  8. How to Write a Definition Essay [50 Definition Essay Topic Ideas]

    Summarize the key points discussed in the body paragraphs. Afterward, provide readers with a concise recap of the various aspects of your definition. The good idea is to sta te your thesis statement for the definition essay in the conclusion. Accordingly, emphasize it with the evidence and examples in the essay's body.

  9. 200 Definition Essay Topics: Best Ideas & Prompts

    Sometimes, instructors may require students to write a definition essay. Good topics for definition essay should be relevant to the course content or school curriculum in general. Moreover, ideas for definition essays tend to vary depending on the academic level of students and their majors. This section outlines common definition essay topics ...

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    Definition Essay Topic Ideas. Check out 30 definition essay examples of topics that you can get inspired by and brainstorm your own brilliant ideas to write about in your essay. Defining true achievement beyond material wealth. Exploring the many faces of bravery. Unraveling the layers of genuine connection. A multifaceted journey to contentment.

  11. 100 Definition Essay Topics Ideas & Examples for Students

    Extended Definition Essays Ideas. Some definitions could be extended to cover more complex or general ideas. These definition paragraph topics will show you how it could be done. Being Miserable and Committing Crimes: Define Link Between These Concepts. Pick Any Three Related Concepts and Elaborate On Them.

  12. 75 Incredible Definition Essay Topics

    Guidelines for Selecting a Definition Essay Topic: Comprehensive List of 75 Definition Essay Topics: Personal Relationships & Emotions. Societal Concepts. Philosophical Ideas. Business & Economics. Science & Technology. Art, Music, & Literature. Personal Growth & Lifestyle.

  13. 20 Definition Essay Topics That Go Beyond the Obvious

    The definition essay is deceptively simple. All you need to do is define a term or concept. But a definition essay is more than a simple dictionary definition. A definition essay extends the definition by providing examples to help readers understand the term or concept being defined. Let me say that again: a definition essay uses an extended ...

  14. Definition Essay Examples and Topic Ideas

    Learn the structure of a definition essay and read two examples of essays about concrete and abstract concepts. ... You can follow the general structure for an expository essay when writing a definition essay. Image Credits. DESCRIPTION definition essay example with notes ... Here are some possible topics for your next definition essay. Note ...

  15. Writing A Definition Essay

    Writing a definition essay is a simple three-step process. First, present the term that you want to define. Second, provide the necessary information so the reader can understand it easily. Lastly, use facts or anecdotes to increase understanding further. To further explain what is a definition essay, take a look at its basic elements.

  16. 457 Definition Essay Topics and Writing Tips

    457 Definition Essay Topics and Writing Tips. (10 votes) A definition explains the meaning of a term or a concept. In a dictionary, you'll find a definition in a single sentence. A definition paper, however, encompasses several paragraphs. Such an essay, amongst other things, can include personal experience and examples.

  17. 111 Best Definition Essay Topics That Will Get You an A

    You will need to prepare for writing a definition essay. Such work requires the author to immerse himself in the essence of the concept. The key goal is to dissect the layers of meaning and present a holistic understanding to your readers. ... List of 111 Best Definition Essay Topics Topics for Presenting and Defending Your Arguments. Defining ...

  18. 10.6 Definition

    Exercise 1. On a separate sheet of paper, write about a time in your own life in which the definition of a word, or the lack of a definition, caused an argument. Your term could be something as simple as the category of an all-star in sports or how to define a good movie. Or it could be something with higher stakes and wider impact, such as a ...

  19. How to Write a Definition Essay

    Describe a scene or situation relevant to the topic. Ask a relevant question to encourage curiosity about the topic. Narrate a brief situation or conversation relevant to the topic. Give a significant quotation related to the topic. In general, a thesis presents your topic and the claim you are making about the topic.

  20. Definition Essay: Topics, Tips and Outline

    An adjective essay focuses on creating a definition for an adjective. Common topics may include describing a "good" or "bad" friend, present, or law. The focus of the essay should explore the qualities and characteristics of a good friend or a bad present. "I need someone to write my essay!". - That's something we hear a lot.

  21. How to Write a Definition Essay: Outline, Examples

    It means that writing a definition essay you should use your arguments clearly to prevent your audience from a wrong understanding of a problem. In simple terms, it tells people what your issue is not. Origins & Causes. This is where you tell about the origins of your issue or things that have caused some event or changes.

  22. How to Write a Definition Essay: A Step-by-Step Breakdown

    1. Prepare for your essay by analyzing your data. Begin by reading the first interview and writing a number for each meaning the person gives. Then read the second interview and if they repeat a meaning, give it the same number you gave it in the first interview.

  23. How to Write a Definition Essay (Plus Topics You Can Use ...

    Body para 2. The denotation of the term (in your own words) Offer examples. Body para 3. The connotation of the term (in your own words) Offer examples. Conclusion. A brief restatement of the definition of the term. Additional information about the term your reader would find interesting.