How To Write A Definition Essay Outline

How To Write A Definition Essay Outline

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.

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.


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.

Definition essay topics


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!