How To Write A Definition Essay Outline - (2023)

Aug 17, 2020

How To Write A Definition Essay Outline - (2)

Essays are some of the most common types of assignments a student encounters at various stages of the education process, but not all essays are similar in terms of complexity. Some essays are famously difficult to write, but others have a reputation for being easy and satisfying to work with.

One of those easy tasks is a definition essay. Writing a definition essay is commonly believed to be one of the least challenging writing tasks for modern students. However, a success definition essay is only possible when you know the ins and outs of writing it. Check out a detailed guide on how to write a definition essay from the team of professional writers of the best essay writing service right now.

What Is a Definition Essay?

The first step on your way to writing a convincing essay is finding out what is definition essay and what exactly should be written in one. The meaning of a definition essay is concealed in the very name of this written assignment.

The purpose of a definition essay is to provide the readers with a clear, concise, and scientifically-grounded definition of a particular word, phrase, or concept. Simply because of how brief a definition essay format is in its nature, the length of a typical definition essay is only between ½ page and a whole page.

In some cases, you will be tasked with writing an extended definition essay, where you will need to take multiple approaches to define a single concept or work with a particularly complex subject that requires an in-depth approach. In that case, the extended definition essay outline may require you to include several pages in your essay.

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Definition vs. Argumentative

Definition and argumentative essays are two of the most commonly assigned types of essays in modern schools, and while the two share some similarities, at their core, they are two very different types of assignments and should not be confused.

Like a definition essay, an argumentative essay deals with a single topic or subject. However, in an argumentative essay, the writer’s job is to present different arguments supporting his own opinion in the correct one. In a definition essay, the format doesn’t call for the writer’s opinion and instead requires him to solely present the facts that form the definition of the subject.

Types of Definition Essays

After learning what is a definition essay, you may think that this type of assignment is very straightforward and only has one type — the definition itself. However, there are three types of definition essays you need to know about if you want to do a good job with your definition essay:

  • Functional definition

In this definition essay, you will define how a certain object or process works. This type of definition essays is very interesting for the audience, as it gives them a chance to find out about the inner workings of something they have always known but never studied in detail.

  • Structural definition

The purpose of a structural definition essay is to offer the viewers a complete look at how a certain object is structured and which parts it contains. It can be material or immaterial object, but it needs to be relevant to the interests of the audience.

  • Analytical definition

This type of definition essays is possibly the most complex one, as it requires you to not only look at the subject of your essay in great detail and explain it to the audience, but also offer a comparison to similar subjects and how it relates to them.

How to Write a Definition Essay

Once you think you have a deep understanding of what a definition essay is and plenty of good definition essay ideas, it’s time to begin your writing process.

(Video) How To Write An Informative Essay


As it’s often the case with written assignments in school, the process of writing a definition essay starts with definition essay outline. To outline definition essay, you will need to adopt the classic approach, where the outline consists of an introduction, a certain number of body paragraphs, and a conclusion.


The introduction to your definition essay is the first time the readers are exposed to your topic and subject, which means that the introduction needs to be not only highly informative, but also interesting enough to compel the readers to continue studying your paper.

A good way to begin your definition essay introduction is to include a standard brief definition from a dictionary and then explain why this definition does not give a complete idea about the subject and it needs to be investigated further.

Keep in mind that the definition essay structure does not include a thesis statement simply because you don’t need to prove anything as a writer. However, you can still finish your introduction with a strong statement that resembles a thesis statement but has a more neutral look.


The classic three-paragraph structure of the body of the essay may not always work in the case with a definition essay. Some definition essays are so brief that you simply can’t source enough relevant information to put in three separate paragraphs. That is why your definition essay can have as little as 1 body paragraph, although 2 or 3 are the more conventional approach.

In the body of your definition essay, you need to offer a detailed background of the object you are analyzing, including its history, the way it is depicted in relevant sources, and where it is most commonly used. Repeat the same steps for every definition of the word in case there is more than one of them.


In the conclusion to your definition essay, your job is to briefly summarize everything that has been said in the paper without actually retelling the introduction and the body word for word. In your conclusion, you can add a more personal view on the subject and finish the paper by encouraging the audience to do some additional reading about the subject to get an even more complete understanding.

(Video) What Is a Definition Essay and How to Make It Perfect

Definition essay topics

How To Write A Definition Essay Outline - (3)

Knowing how to start a definition essay and how to write its other parts is important for the success of the paper, but it’s even more important to find the right topic for your paper. The topic should not only be interesting for your potential audience, but also relevant to your own interests and the current discourse.

Here are some definition essay topics examples you may find helpful:

  1. Optimism.
  2. Happiness.
  3. Respect.
  4. Peer pressure.
  5. Family.
  6. Social media.
  7. Weakness.
  8. Individuality.
  9. Ambition.
  10. Independence.

Questions to Ask When Finishing Your Definition Essay

Now that you know how to write definition essay and got some ideas about the regular and extended definition essay topics, all that is left to do is write your paper and then give it a good check. Besides the grammar and language, you also need to make the content of your essay simply flawless. Answering the following 5 questions, prepared by our essay service, will help you understand if you did a good job with your essay:

  1. Is the topic of my essay fully relevant to its content or can it be viewed as a misleading?
  2. Is the tone and language of my essay appropriate to my audience?
  3. Did I choose the most relevant subject for my definition essay?
  4. Have I studied every possible source to deliver a quality definition?
  5. Is my definition all-encompassing and impartial or does it still need work?

Final Tips from Our Writing Team

Thanks to these definition essay examples and writing tips, most students won’t have any difficulties with writing a definition essay. However, there are situations where you simply cannot complete the task on time.

If you are in a hurry, swamped with other assignments, or can’t figure out what to write about, our top-rated service that specializes in essay writing in United States will help you deliver a convincing definition essay in no time!

(Video) How To Write An Informative Essay | Definition, Outline, Common Mistakes


How do you write a definition essay outline? ›

Below is the basic format in which a definition essay is written:
  1. Introduction. Official or dictionary definition. An interesting statement or personal information. Thesis statement.
  2. Each Body Paragraph. Topic sentence. Analysis. Supporting information. ...
  3. Conclusion. Restated thesis statement. Summary of the major points.

How do you write a definition essay example? ›

Make sure to:
  1. Present two or more points of view.
  2. Provide arguments that prove some points of view (that contradict your main idea/thesis statement) wrong.
  3. Compare and contrast different viewpoints.
  4. Provide examples if possible.
  5. Reflect your own perception and understanding of the term, highlight your own viewpoints.
15 Jan 2019

What are the 3 main parts of an essay define each part? ›

The main parts (or sections) to an essay are the intro, body, and conclusion. In a standard short essay, five paragraphs can provide the reader with enough information in a short amount of space.

What should I write my definition essay on? ›

Extended Definition Essay Topics
  1. What does it mean to be brave, and how is it different from having courage?
  2. What is faith?
  3. What is the true meaning of love?
  4. How to define beauty?
  5. What does trust mean to you, and what role does it play in our lives?
  6. What is honesty?
  7. How is wisdom different from knowledge?
8 Feb 2022

How long should a definition essay be? ›

The purpose of a definition essay is to provide the readers with a clear, concise, and scientifically-grounded definition of a particular word, phrase, or concept. Simply because of how brief a definition essay format is in its nature, the length of a typical definition essay is only between ½ page and a whole page.

How many paragraphs should a definition essay be? ›

However, the common minimum definition essay length is five paragraphs (introduction, main body, and conclusion).

How do you start a definition sentence in an essay? ›

Sentence starters ease the transition from explaining the big picture to showing those same ideas at work in the real world.
  1. For example . . .
  2. For instance . . .
  3. To illustrate . . .
  4. Specifically . . .
  5. We can see this in . . .
  6. This is evidenced by . . .
  7. Consider the [case/example] of . . .
2 Jun 2022

What are the steps to write a definition? ›

How to Write Simple Definitions. Step 0 - Limit your definitions to a single concept. Step 1 - Research the Term. Step 2 - Determine the Term's Concept. Step 3 - Choosing the Definition Type.

How does an outline of an essay look like? ›

An outline is a direct and clear map of your essay. It shows what each paragraph will contain, in what order paragraphs will appear, and how all the points fit together as a whole. Most outlines use bullet points or numbers to arrange information and convey points.

What is the rule of 3 in essay writing? ›

Three-part structure.

Use a three-part structure to organize your writing. In the beginning, set things up. Then build anticipation, and finish with the punchline, resolution, or plot twist. The easiest way to do this is by having three characters experience the same situation in slightly different ways.

What are 4 most important parts of an essay? ›

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion: The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement. The body presents your evidence and arguments. The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance.

What is definition essay and how do you write it? ›

Definition is a rhetorical style that uses various techniques to impress upon the reader the meaning of a term, idea, or concept. Definition may be used for an entire essay but is often used as a rhetorical style within an essay that may mix rhetorical styles.

What is a good definition essay? ›

A good definition essay will not exceed one page in length, and it should include 250-500 words. The goal is for the student to expand on a word's usage. This can be done by explaining other possible concepts of what they are analyzing - this makes them more interesting!

Does a definition essay need a thesis? ›

A definition essay does not have a regular thesis statement since the one who is writing it doesn't need to prove anything. If your goal is to write a good definition paper, then you just need to add a primary assertion of your work to the last sentence of the introduction section.

What are the 3 types of definition? ›

When writers are trying to explain an unfamiliar idea, they rely on definitions. All definitions attempt to explain or clarify a term. This lesson will introduce you to the three different types of definitions: formal, informal, and extended.

What are the 4 types of definition? ›

Here are just four among the many types of definitions: (1) Definition by synonym; (2) Ostensive definitions; (3) Stipulative definitions, and. (4) Analytical definitions.

Can you start a definition essay with a question? ›

Definition Essay: Introduction

Start with one of the various techniques, such as a short anecdote, a peculiar fact, a quote, or an open-ended question. Your introduction should conclude with a clear, precise thesis statement that tells your readers just what the essay will discuss.

What is the starting point of definition paragraph? ›

The starting point for a definition paragraph is a simple definition*, which becomes the topic sentence of the paragraph. Topic Sentence gives a simple definition. Support Sentences give more information through the use of examples, description, or explanation.

What is a good opening sentence? ›

Start with the chase. A good hook might also be a question or a claim—anything that will elicit an emotional response from a reader. Think about it this way: a good opening sentence is the thing you don't think you can say, but you still want to say. Like, “This book will change your life.”

How do you write a definition essay for college? ›

How to Write a Definition Essay?
  1. Select an Abstract Term. Instead of choosing a term that has a concrete definition available, pick a complicated word. ...
  2. Identify the Dictionary Definition. ...
  3. Choose a Topic. ...
  4. Gather Information. ...
  5. Create an Outline. ...
  6. Write the First Draft. ...
  7. Proofread and Edit.

What are the 5 types of definition? ›

  • 1.1 Real and nominal definitions.
  • 1.2 Dictionary definitions.
  • 1.3 Stipulative definitions.
  • 1.4 Descriptive definitions.
  • 1.5 Explicative definitions.
  • 1.6 Ostensive definitions.
  • 1.7 A remark.
10 Apr 2008

How do you create definition? ›

How to create a definition of done for your feature, project, or task in 5 steps
  1. Decide on your definition of done as a team. ...
  2. Create a checklist template for your definition of done. ...
  3. Don't obsess over the list of criteria. ...
  4. Make sure each individual task has its own specific acceptance criteria.
28 May 2020

How do you write a perfect outline? ›

How do I write an outline?
  1. Identify your topic or thesis statement.
  2. Decide what points you would like to discuss during your paper.
  3. Put your points in logical, numerical order so that each point connects back to your main point.
  4. Write possible transitions between paragraphs.

What are the 5 steps to writing an outline? ›

Here are five steps to a strong outline:
  1. Choose Your Topic and Establish Your Purpose. A lot of writers struggle to define the initial focus for their paper. ...
  2. Create A List Of Main Ideas. This is the brainstorming part of the writing process. ...
  3. Organize Your Main Ideas. ...
  4. Flush Out Your Main Points. ...
  5. Review and Adjust.

What is outline give example? ›

An outline presents a picture of the main ideas and the subsidiary ideas of a subject. Some typical uses of outlining might be an essay, a term paper, a book review, or a speech. For any of these, an outline will show a basic overview and important details.

What is the golden rule of essay writing? ›

Rule 1: Answer the question that is asked. Rule 2: Write your answer in your own words. Rule 3: Think about the content of your essay, being sure to demonstrate good social scientific skills. Rule 4: Think about the structure of your essay, being sure to demonstrate good writing skills and observing any word limit.

How long does it take to write a 3k word essay? ›

Writing 3,000 words can take anywhere between six and 24 hours depending on the topic but, with our tips, you can easily get it done within a day.

Can I write a 3 page essay in 3 hours? ›

Writing 3 pages will take about 37.5 minutes for the average writer typing on a keyboard and 1.3 hours for handwriting. However, if the content needs to include in-depth research, links, citations, or graphics such as for a blog article or high school essay, the length can grow to 5 hours.

What is the most important point in an essay? ›

Make a strong thesis: The thesis (main argument) of the essay is the most important thing you'll write.

What is the 5 point structure to an essay? ›

The five-paragraph essay structure consists of, in order: one introductory paragraph that introduces the main topic and states a thesis, three body paragraphs to support the thesis, and one concluding paragraph to wrap up the points made in the essay.

How do I plan an essay? ›

5 Step Guide to Plan the Perfect Essay
  1. Understand The Question. Start the essay writing process by taking time to understand the questions. ...
  2. Brainstorm Ideas. Once you have started to make sense of the question, you can start to brainstorm your ideas. ...
  3. Research. ...
  4. Make a Plan and Draft an Outline. ...
  5. Write Your Essay.
23 Dec 2019

What are the 4 principles in outlining define describe each of them? ›

The principles of outlining include consistency, unity, coherence, and emphasis. Coordinate points in an outline are on the same level of importance in relation to the thesis of the speech or the central idea of a main point. Subordinate points provide evidence for a main idea or thesis.

What is a definition paper essay? ›

A definition essay is one that explains a term, either by defining what it means or by clarifying which meaning is intended when a word has several meanings.

How do you write a good definition? ›

There are a few basic guidelines to follow when writing a definition:
  1. Wiktionary is a dictionary, not an encyclopedia. A definition does not need to contain every piece of information known about a subject. ...
  2. Keep it simple. ...
  3. Avoid complicated terms. ...
  4. Avoid specialized terms. ...
  5. Avoid circularity.

What is definition paragraph with example? ›

A paragraph is defined as “a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit” (Lunsford and Connors 116). Length and appearance do not determine whether a section in a paper is a paragraph. For instance, in some styles of writing, particularly journalistic styles, a paragraph can be just one sentence long.

What is the best definition paragraph? ›

A paragraph is a series of sentences that are organized and coherent, and are all related to a single topic. Almost every piece of writing you do that is longer than a few sentences should be organized into paragraphs.

What are the 7 guidelines in writing an outline? ›

  • Craft your premise.
  • Roughly sketch scene ideas.
  • Interview your characters.
  • Explore your settings.
  • Write your complete outline.
  • Condense your outline.
  • Put your outline into action.

What are 4 important steps in creating an outline? ›

How do I write an outline?
  1. Identify your topic or thesis statement.
  2. Decide what points you would like to discuss during your paper.
  3. Put your points in logical, numerical order so that each point connects back to your main point.
  4. Write possible transitions between paragraphs.

What is a good outline looks like? ›

Basic outline form

The main ideas take Roman numerals (I, II, ...) and should be in all-caps. Sub-points under each main idea take capital letters (A, B, ...) and are indented. Sub-points under the capital letters, if any, take Arabic numerals (1, 2, ...) and are further indented.

What is outline and example? ›

An outline is a tool used to organize written ideas about a topic or thesis into a logical order. Outlines arrange major topics, subtopics, and supporting details. Writers use outlines when writing their papers in order to know which topic to cover in what order.

What are the three rules of outlining? ›

2. There are three main rules for proper outlining. 1. The first rule is to clearly label the parts.
The fifth main part is the conclusion.
  • The conclusion should summarize your main points.
  • The conclusion should end on a note of finality.
  • The conclusion should sometimes refer back to the introduction.


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