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Good Words for Definition Essay Assignments

August 03, 2015 - Posted to Study

Content 19

Good Words for Definition Essay

How would you define loyalty? Would everyone else define loyalty as you do? Probably not. And this is the reason why writers and authors spend lots of time and many pages defining words such as these. They have many facets that must be identified and described. The word definition essay is often assigned in English courses, because it is an essay type that is usually in a writing curriculum. But, because many of the words/terms may have significance in other subject fields, this type of assignment may be given in other courses as well.

Typical Definition Essay Words

Usually, the best words for definition essays are abstract terms – terms that can have rather subjective meanings and that everyone will not define the same. And, if you have an English comp assignment to write a definition essay, and you have the choice of a word, you must select one on which you can write at least 5 paragraphs – an introduction, 3 body paragraphs that will explain at least 3 facets of that definition, and a conclusion. Obviously, you may not want to choose something as simple as a pencil to define. A few essay ideas for the definition essay assignment might be as follows:

  1. Friendship: This term is highly subjective because what is a good friend to one is not to another. Does friendship mean that one party always supports the other when the other is clearly wrong? Does friendship sometimes mean compromising who you are deep inside? Does friendship mean calling the other out at times? Could friendship mean “ratting out” someone in order to get that person the help s/he needs? Find three aspects of friendship that are meaningful to you and write about them.
  2. Happiness: Here is certainly a word that inspires a lot of thought – even books are written on the subject. So, what three things are most important to ensure happiness? Identify them and then describe and defend those three things.
  3. Peace: Is peace always the absence of conflict or troubles? Or is it something that one has within that enables him/her to face conflict or trouble in a better way?
  4. Success: Again, another word about which books are written. Can you identify three things that mean success to you? If you do, they won’t be the same three things that another will identify. But you have identified them and now must support them, explaining why they constitute success.

Definitions Essays in Coursework Other Than English

There are lots of good words to write a definition essay on that course instructors love to throw out for assignments.

Psychology: Define mental health; define stress; define morality; define intelligence

Political Science: Define justice; define equality; define democracy or socialism

Sociology: Define family; define community; define culture

Most Definition Essays are Persuasive in Nature

When you are asked to define a word or term, you are going to be providing your personal opinion, so you need to consider this essay type to also be a persuasive one. You are going to identify those facets of a term that you believe to comprise its definition and you need to convince the reader that you are correct. So, it’s a good idea to recall how a persuasive essay is organized:

  1. The introduction introduces the topic – the word of term you are defining. You might want to begin with a short anecdote or a surprising fact, such as, “There are over 1000 books currently for sale that attempt to define the word ‘success.’” Now the reader know the topic. You will then introduce your thesis. “I define success as doing what you love, harming no one else while doing it, and having a sense of satisfaction about what you accomplish.” Now, you have told your reader what your 3 body paragraphs will include!
  2. The body paragraphs must each stick to a single aspect of your definition. Normally, in persuasive essays, the writer either begins or ends with the most important point, depending on which s/he feels will be most impactful. Each must include a topic sentence and good supporting detail – in this case, perhaps examples of highly successful people exhibiting that facet of your definition.
  3. The conclusion will either reiterate those three facets or may call upon the reader to do something. Perhaps you want to say, “Use this definition of success as your guideposts, and you will have lived a life worth living.”

A Word About Transitions

Transition words for persuasive essays are not radically different than they are for many other essay types. Remember, transitions glue sentences and paragraphs together so that there are logical connections between your thoughts and so that the reader has an idea of what is to come next. As you review your rough draft of your essay, check to be certain that you have used good essay transition words and phrases both between sentences and paragraphs. Commonly used words and phrases for persuasive essays include: therefore, however, exceptions to this, this does not really complete the definition of……..,” additionally, equally important, and furthermore. 

Good words for a definition essay have should have some complexity about them. They should be terms about which there is not agreement on meaning. Find a word or term that you feel passionate about – you’ll have half of that essay writing battle won.

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