How to Choose Topics for a Definition Essay: A List of Suggestions

The purpose of definition essay writing is to explain the meaning of a term or concept. Some terms can be determined and explained easily because they have definite meanings, while others are abstract and depend more on the writers’ points of view. To compose an effective definition essay, you should tell the readers what term is being defined and provide basic and comprehensive information. Use the means such as examples, facts, and details that your audience will understand.

The most interesting thing to start with is choosing a topic for your essay. Keep in mind that you should clearly understand the term before you explain it to your readers. It makes sense to find it in a dictionary, and then define it in your own words. Another thing to consider is to limit your definition. You can write about the term “time” forever, but when you narrow down your topic and stay specific, you do not confuse the readers. The four following steps are helpful when you start working on your essay topic:

  1. Consider a term or concept that you want to explore.
  2. Find that term in the dictionary.
  3. Do a literary review and find out what other authors think about the term.
  4. Analyze how different people define it.

Some suggestions for definition essay topics are listed below; you can explain what the following terms and concepts mean:

  • Sense of humor.
  • Time and eternity.
  • Optimism and pessimism.
  • Respect.
  • Happiness and joy.
  • Good and bad.
  • Charity.
  • Democracy and authoritarianism.
  • Capitalism and communism.
  • Culture.

You can create an effective definition essay if you choose the best way to define a term. Some options include definitions by:

  1. Structure (you explain how something is organized).
  2. Function (you describe how something works or what it can do).
  3. What the term does not mean (you should find some distinctions that help clarify your definition).
  4. Analysis (you need to identify the special characteristics of the term, compare it to other members of its class, and then describe the differences).

Either way, you should select clear examples, facts, or opinions to support your definition. Keep your target audience in mind; ask yourself whether the readers understand the material that you have selected, what points can help them understand the term better, and whether a brief story or anecdote can reveal its meaning. You should not use examples and details that do not expand your definition.