Definition Essay Topics

blog image

It may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite easy when one has a good understanding of the word.  Definition essays are not always based on a single word but rather, it can also be a phrase. In either event, it is of use to first understand the meaning. Words carry different types of meaning; some have fixed meanings whereas others may have a varying meaning. The former is often characteristic of concrete nouns and phrases, such as a house, a road or a cat. However, other words are abstract in nature and may hold different meaning depending on the context in which they are interpreted.

While assigning essays, professors may decide to focus on a fixed topic, or they may give a variety of topics for the students to pick from.  For the former, the student pretty much does not have a choice. In such a case, a good strategy would be to begin looking for various perspectives of interpreting the topic. Then, pick the interpretations which are most interesting and which offer the most material to write on. In case you are lucky to receive an open-ended assignment, then focus your efforts on picking the most familiar topic among those provided.

Qualities of a superb definition essay

It’s imperative to give your essay a heading that has different meanings. This leaves the readers wanting to know the exact context in which you are discussing your essay. It also leaves a watertight discussion into the content of the essay.

Essay topics ideas

It’s prudent to give essay titles that deal with contentious current issues. This way, one will always come up with discussion topics that are enticing to read and obviously spark interest. Some of the most popular titles include.

  • Marriage life
  • Religion
  • Human rights
  • The African experience

Definition essay topics

Writing an excellent Definition Essay

To write a good definition essay, you must begin by choosing a good definition essay topic. To achieve this, first, pick a topic which is most familiar to you. Secondly, if possible, pick a topic that interests you. This will provide you with the morale to write and will also ensure that you write a good essay. Once you have chosen a suitable topic, find the various meanings associated with the word or phrase. A good pointer is to avoid interpreting the essay too literally, as this may hinder your imagination. Finally, choose the meanings that you feel you are most comfortable discussing.

Once you have settled on the essay topic and the meanings to discuss, you can start writing the essay. Begin with the more familiar meanings, and make your essay interesting. Another option may be to begin with the most intriguing or unexpected meanings since these are likely to capture the reader’s attention. It is important to maintain impartiality in your essay. This is achieved by ensuring that all sides are represented fairly. So in case you chose only those topics that appeal to your point of view, and erroneously made a biased choice, you must go back and replace these with topics that allow the essay to offer a wide perspective.


Suggested steps in writing a definition essay:


  • Introduce your topic word or phrase and its most common meaning
  • Give other definitions associated with the word
  • Give a thesis statement showing why the topic is of interest to the reader


  • Discuss each of the outlined meanings
  • Explain why some meanings should take precedence over others


  • Restate the main points or meanings
  • Remind the reader of the relevance of the word

In writing the body of the essay, it is important to ensure that your ideas flow logically. Secondly, a good idea would be to have each meaning as the opening sentence of the paragraph. If you have an idea of the origin of the term, this would serve as a good follow up. You can then inform the reader of the various applications of the word and meanings. While going through your work, do it as though you were the reader. This will help you ensure that your essay is interesting enough for your audience.

Remember: It’s profound to note that a definition essay is based on definition and explanation of terms.

Sample Definition Essay topics

  • Love
  • Anger
  • Ethics
  • Social media