In everyday communication, we rarely resort to definitions. But in science and educational process, it is an obligatory and frequent phenomenon. Therefore, definition essay topics examples are often included in the curriculum of educational institutions. If you do not have experience in performing such assignments, it is worth reading sample texts written by other authors. You will learn useful information and necessary rules for structuring academic papers.
What a definition is?
Definition is a logical operation, through which the basic concept is revealed. By the way, the previous sentence is also a definition.
The Latin word "definitio" (from the word "finis" which means "the end", "the border") came into wide use in ancient times - in the era of the collapse of the communal property and the establishment of private ownership of land. Initially, it meant the demarcation of land with the help of milestones, border pillars. Subsequently, it was extended to a mental, logical operation that singles out the object of thought, dissociates, delimitates it from other objects.
Definitions fulfill two major functions: cognitive and communicative. First of all, they fix the general results of summarizing activity and serve as a means of further knowledge, a basis for understanding a subject.
Also, knowledge of some people is transferred to others in a process of communication. Owing to definitions, the confusion of concepts is prevented, mutual understanding is achieved and the spiritual connection of generations is realized.
Features of a definition essay
It is necessary to distinguish definitions in a narrow and broad sense of the word. In the latter case, the definition is any general qualification of the subject: "Gold is a metal", "Donkey is an animal", etc. As a rule, a narrow sense of a word is considered in examples of a definition essay.
Definitions should not be confused with operations that have similar features: description, comparison, explanation through an example. Other kinds of academic papers are provided for these types of narrative.
Ultimately, a definition answers the question: "What this subject is?" Of course, if the concept is known to us from experience ("a dog", "a spoon", "a pencil"), then there is no need to define it.
However, in some cases, such method of speech is indispensable. You can find college definition essay examples written for the following situations:
- It is necessary to sum up the main result of a study of the subject’s essence. For example, if a scientist studies any natural process, its definition may be a result.
- When the content of the used concepts is unknown to a reader.
- There are several meanings of one concept.
- A new word is introduced into use, or a known word is used in a new meaning, etc.
It’s worth remembering that a definition should not contain a circle. The mistake appears when this rule is violated: at first, one concept is determined through another, and then, the second one through the first one. Example: "Logic is the science of right thinking, and right thinking is logical thinking."
Structure of a definition essay
Let's suppose you chose a term and learned its meaning. What to do next? How to write an essay that will be convincing and easy to read? It is important to follow the classical structure of such texts. Studying the definition essay outline examples, you may notice that most of the papers are composed according to one principle. To comply with it, work in the following sequence:
- Typically, a text begins with a standard description. Definition essay introduction examples often contain official wordings from dictionaries. This helps a reader to quickly understand what the paper is about. Associations with familiar concepts come to mind. Perhaps, later you will describe your own understanding of the term which is absolutely different from the classical definition. But in any case, at first, some starting point is needed.
- Then you can express a personal attitude to the concept. At this stage, the authors formulate a thesis statement, a rationality of which should be proved further.
- In the main part, the writer’s definition is divided into parts that are considered with special attention. You can even dedicate a paragraph to each word. Write consistently to form in the reader's mind a holistic picture that corresponds to your worldview.
- In conclusion, emphasize that your understanding of the term is correct and truthful, since you have proved it in the main part. A good example of a definition essay conclusion can radically change the reader's opinion about the phenomenon under consideration.
- Also, if desired, you can write about a role that the concept played in your life. For example, when discussing the meaning of the word "honesty", it can be mentioned that sincere relationships help you enjoy all the happiness of friendship. So you will confirm the basic idea with life experience.
All you need now to start working on your own academic paper is knowledge and experience. Read one definition essay example after another, as often as possible. Very soon, you will be able to freely navigate in this genre and to create masterpieces that will cause admiration of your teachers. Good luck!