It’s all in the name with a definition essay. This type of paper explains a certain subject or a topic — just as a normal person would explain something to a peer. And yes, it is as simple as it sounds — you pick a concept and explain it in writing — really, there is nothing more to a definition essay.
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Choosing a topic or a concept to define might take some time, though. So, here is a list of popular definition essay topics that may come in handy.
List of definition essay topics
- Describe the meaning of the term love, friendship, hatred.
- What is “buoyancy”?
- Explain the meaning of alliteration, onomatopoeia, litotes.
- What does “Thatcherism” mean?
- Explain phases of heterogeneous and heterogeneous mixtures.
- What does confidentiality mean?
- What is ‘convergence’?
- What does the concept of “influence peddling” presuppose?
- What is ‘culture’?
- How would you define ‘surface tension’?
- How acceptable is it to kill animals?
- Can you consider carnivorous cannibals?
- Is acting the same as lying?
- Can you consider graffiti a form of art?
- Is banana a fruit?
Mind that some definition essays combine elements of an argumentative paper. That is, you might have to persuade your audience that something should be defined in a particular manner, often contrary to the common belief. A basic formula for this type of paper goes like this:
“A is/isn’t B” “One thing is/isn’t something else.”
Another thing to bear in mind is the tone of your paper, its style and the presentation of your arguments. These will mostly depend on your academic level. Sure, a high school paper will differ from an academic work of college level. For example, when you ask a six-grader to explain what friendship is, it’s quite acceptable to start with:
“Friendship is when you…”
This, however, is not an appropriate way to start your college level paper. You have to ensure that your language and your paper flow is consistent with your academic level — and, quite often, major.
Need a sample of a definition essay? Take a look at this one:
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