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Definition Essay

A Definition Essay is an essay that defines, explains, and exemplifies something. It could be something concrete, or an abstract concept. The aim is not to just give the dictionary meaning, but to explain why the term is defined as such. The approach depends on the topic, your audience, and the purpose of the essay.

Writing a Definition Essay

A good definition essay should include the following:

1. An introduction with the word or term to be defined, reason for defining it, and the kind of information you will use to define.

2. The body with as many paragraphs as necessary, each covering a different point. The points may be:

  • The origin and history of the word - where it came from and how it was created.
  • Its specific descriptions and what makes it different or unique.
  • Types of behaviors and reactions that describe it.
  • Similarities and differences when compared to other things.
  • Types of classifications that might define it.
  • Its uses if useful. If not useful, why?
  • Its limitations.
  • Its effectiveness.


3. The conclusion summarizing the whole essay.

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