A Definition Essay Examples A definition essay may
- Slides: 30
A Definition Essay Examples: A definition essay may try and define. . . l the meaning of an abstract concept, like love; l the true meaning and importance of honesty; l how the meaning of family goes deeper than just your blood relatives.
A Definition Essay A definition essay attempts to define a specific term. ltries to pin down the meaning of a specific word, or define an abstract concept. lgoes deeper than a simple dictionary definition
A Definition Essay lattempts to explain why the term is defined as such. lcould define the term directly, giving no information other than the explanation of the term. lit could imply the definition of the term, telling a story that requires the reader to infer the meaning.
def-i-ni-tion (def' e-nish' en) n. 1. The act of defining a word, phrase, or term. 2. The act of making clear and distinct. 3. A determining of outline, extent, or limits. Consider the following guidelines as you write your definition essay: • Make your essay personal, amusing, vigorous, stimulating, memorable. • Choose a generic topic rather than a specific topic. For example, write about churches but not Westminster Abbey. • Your task is to make the definition fresh by using your own understanding and experience to illuminate the word’s meaning.
DEFINITION ESSAY -- PLANNING GUIDE 1. What is the term to be defined? 2. Who is the intended audience for the writing? Is this a general audience for which terms must be broken down in laymen's terms or is it a specific/specialized audience that will know technical terms and will not require further definition? 3. What is the purpose for the intended definition?
Three Steps to Effective Definition Tell readers what term is being defined. 2. Present clear and basic information. 3. Use facts, examples, or anecdotes that readers will understand. 1.
Choosing a Definition l Choosing a definition is a key step in writing a definition essay. l You need to understand the term before you can define it for others. l Read the dictionary, but don't just copy the definition. l Be able to explain the term briefly in your own words.
Limiting Your Term l It's important to limit your term before you start defining it. l For example, – you could write forever on the term "love. " – To limit it, you would write about either l "romantic love, " l "platonic love, " l "first love. "
Outline – The Introduction DEFINITION THEME – OUTLINE FORMAT I. Introduction: Attention getter a. You may want to include the traditional or dictionary definition here to provide a basis for your personal definition. b. You may want to open with a contradictory image to illustrate what term is not. c. Thesis Statement
Outline – The Introduction Focus on the THESIS STATEMENT Your thesis statement should include the following information: • The term to be defined • Sentence definition of the term • Reason(s) for giving a more detailed definition • The kinds of additional information that will be used to extend the definition
Outline – The Body The body of an extended definition may use one or more of the patterns of organization to assist in a fuller explanation of the term. 2 You must include in the body of your essay a minimum of things to focus on from the list below: a. Etymology: Where do words come from? How and when were they invented? Why are there so many different languages? Why do many languages share the same or similar words for the same things? b. Counterpoints or Negation: What is it NOT? What can't it do? What are its limitations? c. Process: describes the steps necessary to accomplish a described task. d. Anecdotal Illustration: Narrate illustrations that can clarify a group, theory, or object.
Outline – The Body 2 You must include in the body of your essay a minimum of things to focus on from the list below: a. Description: A formal one line definition of the word is appropriate for this technique. Ex. Cheese is a solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk, often seasoned and aged. b. Concrete Details: What are the physical characteristics? What is remarkable and unique? c. Analysis: Divide the subject into parts and define each part separately. d. Comparison/Contrast: What similarities and/or differences can you identify when compared to something else.
Outline – The Body 2 You must include in the body of your essay a minimum of things to focus on from the list below: a. Narrative: a story that helps to illustrate the depth of meaning in the term b. Effects: Discuss the uses and consequences (both positive and negative) of the subject. c. Classification: According to dictionary definitions, what classes does the subject belong to? d. Origins & Cause: Where did the subject come from? What is the background information? What is the history of the subject?
Outline – The Conclusion III. CONCLUSION A. Closing attention getter – WRAP IT UP!! • Sometimes a reference back to the opening attentiongetter is a good way of unifying the entire essay B. FUTURE: You should end with a comment about the future of the Idea/Concept/Term A. What does the future hold for the subject? Speculate on its effectiveness and duration into the future. C. REFLECTION: Include a comment about the term, or a summarizing statement regarding the paper itself, may often be included. D. End with an explanation of how your definition has affected you.
Purpose of the Paper . . . To see if you can write at length about some topic, in a focused and sustained way. Focused -- not rambling disconnectedly on "everything I know about X", but discussing a specific topic or cluster of interrelated topics in an integrated way. Sustained -- following through some clear line(s) of argument in some depth. That still leaves options. You may go 'vertically' and dig more deeply into one particular issue; or You may go 'horizontally' and be concerned to make connections, and show different parts of a “philosophical” landscape fit together -- or a bit of both. Whichever way you go, you should aim for a clearly structured essay and some meaty arguments.
Purpose of the Paper A definition essay defines a word, term, or concept in depth by providing a personal commentary on what the specific subject means. A. Most physical objects have a definition about which most people agree. 1. Most people will agree on what trees, windows, computers, and pencils are in general. 2. These objects all have specific physical properties that most people can agree on through the use of their physical senses.
Focus of the Paper However, abstract terms, such as love, pain, or patriotism, have different meanings for different individuals since such terms play on people’s feelings more than their physical senses. C. The definition essay provides a personal, extended definition of such terms by linking or comparing the term to a previous definition and by illustrating how that term should be applied.
Selecting a TERM for the Paper Select a subject carefully. Since such essays are personal in nature, select your subject based on your own need to clarify the term. PICK A TERM THAT YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT. For example, if you feel that the word marriage should be defined in a limited manner, that term would make a good subject for a definition essay. Perhaps as a student, you want to define what the term education means from your point of view.
Selecting a TERM for the Paper Select a term or subject that you know well enough so that you can provide specific examples to illustrate your definition. For example, if you aren’t familiar with the term platonic love, don’t attempt to define it in an extended essay. The subject of the essay must be familiar enough to you that you can readily supply specific examples.
Selecting a TERM for the Paper Don’t select a subject either too broad or too narrow to fit the parameters of your essay. For example, the word hat may be too narrow for you to define in an extended essay. On the other hand, the term love may be too broad or general since pinning it down to a single definition is very difficult.
Preparing for the Paper Complete the following steps in the process of collecting details for your definition essay: 1. Select a word that you plan to investigate. The word should have some interest, importance, or meaning to you personally. Example: Beauty, persistence, enlightenment, punishment etc. 2. Begin by writing down a few simple statements about your word: "Laughter is. . . " 3. Now record the word's dictionary definition: 4. Classify your word: Part of Speech: noun, verb, adjective, adverb General Type: character trait, political term, value, religion, literary term, etc. Connotations: 5. In a thesaurus, discover words that have similar meanings. 6. Differentiate: a. Write out a series of negative definitions: (Laughter is not. . . ) b. Make a list of subtle and borderline comparisons: (Laughter may seem similar to humor, but. . ) 7. Identify at least two extended examples which illustrate the word. a. b. 8. After your research, determine a particular thesis or main idea about your word.
Brief Example – Woman – 259 words What is a woman? A woman is a female by denotation, but the connotations are almost limitless. A woman is a marvelous creation designed for multiple applications. From her controversial beginnings in the Garden of Eden, to her place in modern culture, woman has never been without her critics. Despite being blamed for the downfall of man, woman has managed to survive right along with her male counterpart. A woman may be classified in many ways: as a mother, a daughter, a sister or friend; as a laborer or a professional; but, in recent years, women have become harder and harder to classify by their roles or their careers. Instead, a woman may be described as nurturing, but she is also competitive and a risk-taker. She must be tough and resilient as well as living up to her reputation for tenderness and softness. She has fought to overcome old stereotypes of hysteria and emotional outbursts. Modern culture requires women to be savvy, well-educated, nurturing and self-supporting. No free rides for this modern female. A woman, however, no matter how accomplished and well-rounded is not a man. She does not crave the remote control, she does not engage in "testosterone tests" shouldering her opponents out of the way! No, though able to compete with the best, she is always conscious of bringing friends (and enemies) to a higher level. The future looks good for woman. She is a traditional part of the past, a worthy participant in the present, and a dynamic force for the future.
Sample Definition Essay - This Thing Called “Love” A wise man once said that love is a wonderful thing. Although this statement leaves sparse room for argument, it does little to define what love is beyond the vague realm of wonderful. It is my duty as a devout romantic to embark upon the seemingly difficult task of defining love by looking at the history, explaining what love is not, and examining the uses of love and the results of that usage.
(Origin and Causes) The origin of the word is probably the most logical place to start. As with many words in the English language, love is a derivative of the Latin word "causemajoraproblemus" which means "You're miserable when you got it and miserable when you don't. " The word was created to explain the biological phenomenon that existed when certain individuals came into contact with each other and either remained together or went about their lives separately. Regardless of the outcome, the relationship was usually characteristic of throat lumps, knotted stomaches, weak knees, temporary loss of language, sweaty palms, dizzyness, sneezing, and occasional nausea. Belligerent insanity also resulted. History clearly illustrates this. Can we ever forget the face that launched a thousand ships? Federally expressing Van Gogh's ear? The construction of Le Tour Eiffel? All of these were results of love and love lost.
l (Negation) Star-crossed lovers have stated that love is not hand nor foot nor any part belonging to a man. Matrimonial ceremonies also claim that love is not jealous or boastful. Let it be stated here that love also is not a gourmet dish, a domesticated animal, or a latest trend. Love is not a strategic defense mechanism nor the best kept secret at the Pentagon. Love is not another seasoning to bottle and stick on the dust-lined shelves of the spice rack. Love is not to be confused with adhesive tape. Instead, love is a great counterpart to late, evening thunder storms on hot July nights. Love goes well with cold pizza on picnic blankets. Love is cold, wet sand between bare toes. Love is a capitalistic sell-all for novels, Top-40 pop songs, summer movies, and greeting cards. In its simplest terms, love is a four-letter word. Much like other words of similar letter make up, when expressed it can evoke laughter, pleasure, pain, anger, and virtually any wave of reaction. Love also can be confused with feelings of indigestion and gas. Houses have been built, burned, and banished because of love.
Starter Topics l 1. Write an essay defining a food--but include a thesis statement that paints a very favorable portrait of a much -maligned food (for example, Spam or Brussels sprouts) or a very negative picture of a popular food (for example, chocolate or ice cream). l 2. Write an essay in which you define burden at a personal level, by giving examples of the kinds of things you consider burdens. You might want to develop your definition essay with comparison and contrast, exploring the differences between a burden and a responsibility. 3. Write an essay in which you define a family role, for example, the role of a stepmother. Make sure to include the duties of this person. l OR you could pick one of these. . l
TOPICS List (about. com) Peace of mind Right to privacy Kindness Generosity Laziness Sexism Charisma Gumption Common sense Racism Team player Sportsmanship Maturity Honor Integrity Modesty Healthy appetite Self-assurance Frustration Humility Optimism Dedication Sense of humor Liberal Sensitivity Conservative Trust A good (or bad) Respect teacher or Ambition professor Clowns Physical fitness Feminism A happy marriage True friendship Courage Citizenship Success A good (or bad) coach Intelligence Personality A good (or bad) roommate Political correctness Peer pressure Leadership Persistence Responsibility Human rights Sophistication Self-respect Heroism Thrift Sloth Vanity Pride Lust Pride Beauty Greed Virtue Progress A good (or bad) boss A good (or bad) parent Model Paragraphs and Essays A Definition of Happiness, by Nikos Kazantzakis A Definition of a Jerk, by Sydney J. Harris Gifts, by Ralph Waldo Emerson Gore Vidal's Definition of Prettiness A Definition of Pantomime, by Julian Barnes The Meaning of Home, by John Berger The Essence of Humanism, by William James