100 Definition Essay Topics: Try This Instead of Cliché

100 Definition Essay Topics: Try This Instead of Cliché

Let us imagine that you face a situation when the particular word is completely new to you. It can be interesting or not; it may relate to your studies or work. In any case, it is better to fulfill your vocabulary by exploring the topics for definition essay and revealing new knowledge in a separate type of academic writing – definition essay. Definition essay topics along with some great examples listed in this expert article will help to get acquainted with this sort of writing.

A definition essay is not a complicated type of task, but if a student finds it hard for any reasons, he/she may contact professional online writing service to let it solve a homework assignment on any topic.

What Is a Definition Essay?

A definition of the definition essay sounds like a tautology. ‘What is a definition essay’ is the initial question to answer if you want to master one more tricky type of academic writing. An essay of this type is an academic paper, which serves as a detailed dictionary entry, which takes minimum half of a page long. Dictionaries provide brief explanations of words. This type of academic assignment makes them longer. Add some vivid examples from real life and supporting evidence to the definition essay after the clear description of the target term. Experts recommend developing a paper of this type on a word that belongs to one of the given groups:

It is not a good idea to write explanation papers on the words with narrow, specific meanings like “bread” or “bed.” Try something broad instead. Choose words like “freedom” or “beauty” to interpret. Provide all possible meanings of these terms, including personal interpretation; add examples from personal experience, and share the opinions of other people. The 1st thing to include is an official dictionary’s explanation. Pick the topics for definition essay that exist without any doubts.

Usually, such type of essay is not complicated to write. It is smaller than any other type of writing task; it has a single goal – to explain what the term stands for, and it requires no arguments to convince the audience in the author’s position (unless the writer tries to persuade his personal explanation of word is the most accurate one). A student can include both official definition and his own ideas regarding the given term. That is how such essay can occupy one whole page.


Steps to Writing a Definition Essay

Begin with selecting a proper topic. The teacher may give several words to discuss to make the paper longer. A student will barely earn a high grade for a word which requires several sentences or even words to describe it. It is better to select complex terms with the broad definition. They should possess a long history and interesting origins - come up with the whole 1-page story for your word.

Many times, a complicated term with multiple meanings cannot be explained in a sentence or two without sharing vivid examples. Even a full paragraph may not be enough to share the entire sense. Deep words may demand a lot of words/phrases to describe them - that is when a teacher may give a specific assignment to the class. Look at the detailed description of each paper’s section below.

No matter which of the definition essay topic ideas a writer picks, it works this way:

  1. Select a word to explain (avoid those you do not completely understand), introduce it to the target reading audience. The primary purpose is to outset the contents of the essay.
  2. Apply some primary sources (dictionaries, vocabularies, encyclopedias, textbooks) to see how the majority of the population tend to explain the chosen term. Combine/merge the offered definitions in a single paper.
  3. Reveal the selected word in the introduction.
  4. Deliver the detailed information about the chosen term(s) in the 2-3 body paragraphs, logically united with the help of various transition words. Stress any typical mistakes in the other meanings of the term.
  5. Decide on several sound examples to depict and interpret the explanation of your own.

How to Write a Definition Essay in 1-2-3: Preparation Tips

Each student has to get ready before coming up with the written version of the definition essay. It won't take too much time.

If your teacher does not provide you with the definition essay words, begin with exploring all possible topic ideas. We would like to share several hints that will help to make a decision and get ready!

  • Select your word wisely. There is no chance of writing a hefty essay on a simple word with an obvious or single definition. While making your decision, try to be meticulous. Avoid including nouns or verbs. What we mean is that you won't write too much about the words like "bed"; or "dress." Of course, you can use all your imagination, but it will only lead to wordiness. However, if you choose some process to analyze, you may come up with the several good topics. You may select "painting" or "observing." They are more or less subjective so that you can give it a try!
  • Pick only terms with multiple definitions. You can find many multi-dimensional words in every language. Select words that have a lot of synonyms like "gorgeous" or "fight." People tend to perceive such words differently – it is your chance to stand out!
  • Ignore words that are universal in every culture (these words can be "hi," café,” or "telephone.")
  • Do you get the definition of the term? If not, it is better to switch to another one. Keep in mind that teachers want to see some examples drawn from student's own life instead of reading pages of definitions only. Explore all dictionaries to check your choice.
  • Conduct historical research to understand the origins of your term.
  • Turn to the Oxford Dictionary or another official dictionary to find the full interpretation of the term.

Structure of a Definition Essay: How to Write a Definition Essay Brick-by-Brick?

The section discusses several basic elements. From how to write a definition essay introduction to the transition words for definition essay, we will share everything necessary to know about this type of assignment.

Preparing a Definition Essay Outline

Even though a definition essay is smaller than other types of essays, it may still have an outline. The volume of words you write depends on the complexity of chosen term or phrase. Choose a whole phrase, idiom, or proverb to talk about in your definition essay, and remember: some words are truly logical and simple to explain. At the same time, some words demand in-depth research and investigation to formulate an exact representation of their meaning.

Every academic paper should obey the next well-known structure:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis statement (even though it is part of the intro)
  • Body paragraphs (2-3 paragraphs)
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited (usually, such type of paper is done in MLA)

You may read more about writing an outline in this article.

Definition Essay Introduction

An introduction must contain a dictionary (official) explanation of the selected word, which a student can find in the English dictionaries on the needed page. It is possible to search on the web to avoid paperwork. When a correct definition (or several interpretations) pops up, try to make them concise and clear before implementing it into your introduction. Choose the best meaning concerning your context. Decide in which light you would like to discuss the chosen word (example: words like “frenemies” have 2 sides of a coin, representing positive (friends) and negative (enemies) at the same time).

If a student does not want to start the paper with the direct definition, a hook may open the essay. A hook is a catchy sentence added to attract reader’s attention. It can be a:

  • Fact
  • Statistics
  • Simile
  • Metaphor
  • Literary quote
  • Famous people quotations
  • Joke
  • Anecdote
  • Dogma

Words like "love" and "hate" are excellent choices as it is impossible to define them in short. There is no specific definition of these words. A student may involve a universal interpretation of one of these words; include the offers from the dictionaries, and add a few words describing the personal understanding of the word. Such type of writing does not need a regular thesis.

Find more topics below or have a look at the excellent examples of definition essays online from the academic experts.

Definition Essay Thesis Statement

The only thing you should keep in mind which makes this type of essay different is whether you deal with the standard or thesis definition. According to a thesis definition essay, it is the main argument of the entire paper, and it goes in the last sentences of introduction.

You may include both to get the full credit. The first type of definition is the one taken from the official sources like dictionaries. It is an important starting point. As for thesis definition, this sentence involves the full version of what the word means. Mix standard definition with your own experience plus the usage of the term - it is all about writing a good introduction.

A paper of this type does not need a regular definition essay thesis statement because there is nothing a student should prove about the topic. The main idea is just to explain the term. Decide on the most accurate meaning discovered in the dictionaries. If you decide to come up with a thesis statement while working on the paper explaining the meaning of words, keep in mind it should be:

  • Concise
  • Clear
  • To-the-point
  • No longer than 2 sentences

Here is an example of a thesis statement:

“Naturalism regarding literature is a specific perception of the real world: everything going on and surrounding people looks like an experiment of nature.”

The author mentions that this definition works for the literary aspect. It means the word has other interpretations based on the different subjects.

A body of an Essay Definition

A body of an essay definition has an original structure compared to the argumentative/persuasive papers. A student has to share various points that constitute the explanation of the chosen word/term. Background information is not obligatory – just check whether every separate idea has a separate paragraph and stick to the structure below.

  1. Claim #1: Include the 1st element of the explanation. Provide an in-depth analysis of how the offered example(s) substantiates the meaning of the world;
  2. Claim #2: It will be the next aspect of the word + supporting examples;
  3. Claim #3: In case the word has more than 2 meanings (bark, jam, mine, and more), list one more definition. It will be a typical 5-paragraph essay.

Also, the body must contain:

  • History and Origin
  • Complete dictionary explanation and usage
  • Personal interpretation

Conclusion Definition Essay

There is nothing special about the conclusion definition essay – summarize multiple meanings of the same word or remind of the basic definitions of several simple words discussed in the paper.

A conclusion must contain a summary & analysis of the mentioned points. The good idea is to explain the way specific term influences the author’s life; return the hook sentence and thesis statement from the introduction to finish the paper, but reword both sentences.

Definition Essay Examples: Scientific Terms Explained!

Are you looking for some great definition essay examples? Example:


Scientists use electrical circuits for passing signals, saving data, conducting calculations; the primary goal is to manipulate energy. A voltage is…

Do not start with the explanation from dictionary directly. If you do, paraphrase the offered definition to avoid problems with plagiarism.

The Doppler Effect

Pretend the wave pattern created by the tip of a fluctuating rod, which moves across the water. In case the rod had been vibrating in a single…

Once again, professional writers avoid starting explanation essays with the direct definitions of the selected term. Experts recommend choosing scientific terms to interpret.

Newton’s Law of Gravity

Kepler’s laws were not enough to explain the way planets live and move, so Newton came up with some other perfect interpretations of the Solar System’s work.

100 Brilliant College Definition Essay Topics

The article has mentioned some of the great ideas to discuss & explain in a definition paper. Grab more excellent definition essay topics divided into several categories to make it easier.

Definition Essay Topics for College

  1. Healthy living: The difference between the bad and good habits
  2. Worthy job: Factors that influence employee’s satisfaction
  3. Skills and experience a qualified college professor should possess
  4. The necessity of the second language (Spanish, French, or German?)
  5. Factors that predetermine a happy marriage, which will last for a while
  6. How most of the modern teenagers define the concept of platonic love
  7. College degree: How it matters in the life of each student
  8. Winning college application: Magic words to impress the admission officers
  9. Rock’n’roll, democracy, anarchy, and other words associated with the freedom of choice
  10. Mobile apps for education and video games to speed up the learning process

Definition Argument Essay Topics

  1. Things every employee should contribute to the development of a corporate social responsibility
  2. Several to define whether the last elections were fair or not
  3. Factors that lead to the obvious racial segregation in the United States
  4. Death penalty (list pros & cons after the explanation)
  5. Cheating on the examinations and tests: Something out of control
  6. Massive murders: Causes, outcomes, & prevention measures
  7. Cigarette smoking: Healthcare professionals definition of the problem
  8. Using cell phones and other electronic devices in class: Two sides of a coin
  9. English as an official language in the United States
  10. Creationism: Reasons why it may become a new school subject

Extended Definition Essay Topics

  1. Self-assurance, self-control, self-development - what’s in common?
  2. Do people in the United States know what freedom is?
  3. Generosity: Who can be considered generous in the modern world?
  4. Proves that government & FBI violate our right to privacy
  5. Five factors that determine whether a person can be called modest
  6. Several medical symptoms of the healthy appetite
  7. Definition of laziness and effective ways to overcome this bad habit
  8. True friendship compared to hostility (along with the explanation of what frenemy is)
  9. Bad coach and the adverse consequences of improper training
  10. Measures of punishment associated with the caring parents

Common Topics for Definition Essay

  1. The traits of a true hero: Analyzing Superman, Iron Man, and some other guys
  2. Describing success on the example of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
  3. The eternal, powerful, never-ending, undefined feeling of love
  4. Different interpretations of beauty as compared to ugliness
  5. The best definition of respect based on what your granny told you
  6. The definition of loyalty grabbed from the stories of McDonald’s customers
  7. What courage means to different types of people
  8. Which features should a true friend possess to trust him/her?
  9. The nature of hate: Is it the most destructive feeling in the world?
  10. How come some people living in poverty call it a comfort?

Happiness Definition Essay

  1. The way each human defines happiness: A universal meaning
  2. Happiness, kindness, excitement, and other positive psychologies
  3. What makes happiness: living with the one you love having no material goods or living with a rich person without having a sympathy?
  4. Can we say that money and other material goods make one happy?
  5. How do the modern adolescents identify the feeling of happiness?
  6. Happiness as a fundamental right for the US citizens that preoccupied their minds
  7. Defining happiness and several other controversial topics
  8. Several theories used to describe the feeling of happiness
  9. Religious, biological, and philosophical/psychological basis of happiness
  10. The best definite statements offered to describe the happiness

Freedom Definition Essay

  1. General meanings of freedom discovered in various dictionaries
  2. The meaning of freedom to people who work in the factories
  3. Freedom in the eyes of the 1st-year college student
  4. The essence of freedom and independence in the American society
  5. Defining freedom with the help of the Constitution of the United States
  6. Life, liberty, and justice - the words related to the term “freedom”
  7. How the US government should interpret the meaning of freedom
  8. Freedom for all: Does every human being deserve to be free?
  9. Being free VS being happy: Are these two interrelated?
  10. How comes some prisoners are not eager to become free again?

Family Definition Essay

  1. Official interpretations of “family” from different dictionaries
  2. The size of a small, medium, & bug family
  3. Spending a perfect summer with a family: Description with details
  4. Reflective essay on the role of the family in student’s life
  5. Is it possible to call a single parent a complete family?
  6. Are the same-gender families destroying the institution of marriage?
  7. Can the far-far-away relatives be considered part of a family?
  8. A family is a group of people that includes parents, kids, and relatives - Agree/Disagree
  9. Factors that can make strangers better parents than your native
  10. The family is a pillar of the society, so it makes it valuable

Definition Essay on Love

  1. The Oxford American Dictionary interpretation of love
  2. Love as the strongest and most unexplored feeling in the world
  3. Harmonization of personality through mutual love & respect
  4. Love is not another fairy tale with no adverse manifestations
  5. adoration, desire, and respect - the qualities of love
  6. The love between man and woman compared to love between people of the same gender
  7. Are the same-gender relationships destroying the concept of love?
  8. Can young people aged 16 or less fall in love and save this feeling forever?
  9. Is it possible to love several people of the opposite gender at the same time?
  10. The way you parents define the word love (make the difference between love and passion)

Easy Definition Essay Topics List

  1. Traits that make a university professor a field expert
  2. Living with the roommate on campus: Features that make him/her good
  3. Factors that predetermine an excellent emotional health
  4. Anti-Semitism and other controversial religions of the world
  5. Things in our life that can be characterized as humanely
  6. Interpret the term “phase” in relation to homogeneous & heterogeneous mixtures
  7. Acting & pretending: Hints to detect the pretender from the 1st sight
  8. Explain the meaning of the words: onomatopoeia, assonance, and alliteration
  9. Defining and describing several movements in contemporary art
  10. Male chauvinism and the way it is perceived by the feminists

Example of Definition Essay Topics: Bonus Ideas

  1. The importance of time management in college and at the workplace
  2. Factors that may lead young people to depression
  3. Having a sense of humor: Pros & cons of joking in various life situations
  4. The traits a human should possess to be called a good person
  5. Team player & teamwork: The signs every member contributed to the common goal
  6. Living to fulfill the American Dream: The possible waste of time
  7. Political correctness as the tool to prevent various world conflicts
  8. Methods used to achieve the career goals in the chosen field
  9. Dream career: Wages, conditions, working hours, and other features.
  10. The characteristics of a person who deserves to be called the Great

You have seen the most common samples of topics students choose when receiving definition essay tasks. You may face one of these assignments on the test or as your coursework. There is no limit - a lot of words have multiple, deep meanings and interpretations.

The purpose is to select the term, which you feel comfortable with and which seems interesting to you and people around. Avoid typical essay mistakes and pitfalls. You can become a word artist with the help of your pen or computer only!

Writing Definition Essay: Outro

When you face difficulties in accomplishing this type of academic paper, there is no other way than turning for help. The teacher will not complete the assignment. It is important to choose professional assistance offered by one of the time-checked online writing services. Place an order once sharing your definition essay instructions, and get a complete paper worth of A!

Require academic assistance? – Get it right here and right now!

Get a price quote & proceed with your order!


trust badges