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Definition Essay: Writing tips and sample Topics
 Definition Essay, Sample Topics

Definition Essay: Writing tips and sample Topics

Oct 30, 2012
Definition essay is a type of essay written with an intention to explain a particular subject or concept of interest, providing in depth knowledge and insight into the subject. Definition essays throw light on a particular object or an idea in a comprehensive way.
Most of the topics of definition essays would fall into either of the two categories, i.e. the physical objects or abstract terms. Physical objects such as a bus, computers, and phones are definite in nature and most of us would have similar view and understanding on these kinds of subjects. However, abstract terms such as honesty, love, nature, and pain may not connote a specific meaning to all of us.
There are many other aspects one has to keep in mind before attempting to write a definition essay. Here are few tips that might help you gain a better understanding of the points to remember while writing a definition essay.
  1. Selecting a topic to write: a definition essay is the first thing you would have to give utmost importance to. Unlike other essays, the topic or the subject plays a critical role in definition essays because more often the topic you choose would be nothing but the subject that you want to explain and define throughout the essay.
  2. Since, essays are considered to be an author's point of view on a particular subject, choosing a topic of your area of interest or knowledge helps you form a strong basis to develop the content of the essay.
  3. Be careful while selecting an abstract term as your topic and try to avoid too broad topics as love, peace etc. At the same time, you have to keep in mind that choosing a topic that doesn't have much to write about is also not desirable as you might end up struggling to build up on the content of the essay on such topics.
  4. Even when you choose a simple physical object about which you are quite familiar, as your topic for the definition essay, it is advisable to do some research on the subject in order to gain more facts and examples about the subject. Use these facts and examples to illustrate the main points of your essay, making your essay more appealing and relatively easy to comprehend.
  5. The general format of the essay has to be followed, hence the title, introduction, body of the essay and the conclusion have to be present in the essay.
  6. In the introduction part, let the reader know about the term that you are defining in the essay by providing a simple definition of the subject. You may choose to use the standard definitions of the subject here.
  7. Providing brief information on the background of the subject is recommended, however too much usage of background information is not desirable in a definition essay.
  8. It is a good practice to outline the body of the essay into key points and then elaborating them with the facts and examples that you have as a result of your research.
  9. While you outline the body of your essay, do not consider paragraphing your essay as per the points of your outline, and follow the regular paragraphing style with logical progression.
  10. Try to compare the subject with something else in its class or out of its class to provide more relative analysis on the subject.
  11. When writing on abstract terms, try to mention the causes and express your point of view on the results pertaining to the subject.
  12. Consider including those examples also which might not help you define the term or the subject, but might certainly help the reader get a clarification of any misconceptions about the subject.
  13. Try to keep the conclusion of the essay informative by providing a summary of all the points that have been written in the introduction and in the body of the essay. You might also want to tell the reader the important facts about the subject.
  14. Proofread your essay at least twice and make any corrections required to get it more presentable before you actually submit it.

Here are Some Topic Ideas


You can start the essay by using the simple definition of the telephone as a device which is used to transmit and receive sound signals, mostly human voice. You can provide a little background about who invented it and when. And then, you can continue describing the parts of the telephone and finally conclude by stating its uses and features.


Different people perceive the term beauty in different ways. A simple definition of beauty should be started with and then analyzed with providing your thoughts to define beauty. You can try and make an argumentative analysis by defining what beauty is.


Socialism as a topic for the definition essay is more abstract in nature. A brief history of the socialist political movements and their affects can be used to define the socialism in a definition essay and further provide the author's point of view on it while concluding it.


Provide the basic definition of what a goal means. Use real life examples of people who have met their goals to explain your point of view. Also, include few tips on how to set goals in life and further conclude by telling the reader how important it is to have goals in life.

Global Warming

Define global warming as a rise in the average temperature of the atmosphere which if not controlled can cause greenhouse effect. Using more of factual information is recommended in such kind of definition essays. The body can be built on points which tell the reasons and causes of the global warming and the rest of the body can give statistical data and other information detailing the term global warming. Conclude with how global warming affects the future of mankind if not controlled now.
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