Modesty Definition Essay Outline

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A Modest Proposal Essay Topics

A definition essay is beyond a dictionary definition of a word.A term, word, expression or concept that can be defined in a single sentence generally. A definition essay, however, needs to be quite a few paragraphs. This type of essay requires students to write an individual yet academic definition of one explicit word. The definition must be detailed, thorough and long. It is essential that a student chooses a word that will give amply to write about, with the help of few standard tactics that can be used to elaborate the term.

It is important to pick out a term or definition that is not a physical object. For example, most people can agree on the definition of dog or aircraft. One is a four-legged fur creature and the other is something that flies in the sky and gets people from point x to point y. Definition essay is relaxed to write if you handpick a less tangible or intellectual topic that can be effortlessly clarified through knowledge and experience. Terms like pessimism or righteousness are great for definition essays.

What is a Definition Essay?

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A definition essay is writing that clarifies, explains, and describes what a term means. Certain terms have definite, actual meanings, such as crystal, pen, or tree whereas terms such as ethics, integrity, or love are non-concrete and hinge on a person's perspective and point of view. Therefore, the definition essay includes examples, description, analysis, causes, effects, details, personal experience, etc.  A definition essay can be deceivingly difficult to write.

Three Steps to Effective Definition Essay

  • Tell the audience what term is being defined.
  • Present perfect and clear basic information.
  • Use details, examples, facts or anecdotes that will be understood.

In order to write a definition essay, you define a word that:

  • has a complex meaning
  • is disputable , that which means different things to different people

Definition Essay Topics

  1. Feminism
  2. Talent
  3. Freedom
  4. Virtue
  5. Leadership
  6. Communism
  7. Motherhood
  8. Intelligence

A definition essay must establish a detailed interpretation of your own opinion about the word or concept.

Definition Essay Topics

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Definition essays are subjective: one needs to declare and support their own opinions and ideas about the theory.

Definition essays have two parts:

1. The denotation, or significant meaning, direct explanation of the meaning, and

2. The connotation, or the ideas, suggestions that the word indicates imply or includes.

Topics for a definition essay

     Sensitivity        Prejudice   
   Insensitivity    Liberty Cowardice
 Poor taste
 Loyalty Adventure  Honor  Love
 Courage  Ambition  Justice  Greed
Boredom  Self-confidence   Modesty Generosity
 Hatred Good taste  Tolerance Pride
  • Determine an abstract word with an intricate meaning.
  • Ensure that the word is debatable.
  • Choose a word you have familiarity with.
  • Read the dictionary meaning and definition.
  • Study the word's origins.

Choosing a definition is the main step in writing a definition essay. You need to understand the term before you can define it for the readers. For example, you may state that ‘love’ means ‘affection for a person or thing’ (denotation). Nevertheless, what does the word ‘love’ indicate? Does it suggest loyalty, dedication, gifting, passion (connotation)? 

Definition Essay Outline

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Explain and pen what something does or how it works. Mention how something is systematized or put together. Compare the term to its class and then demonstrate the variances. For instance, compare a Siberian husky to other dogs, such as Labrador dog, Dane, or Bernard. 

To Write an Effective Definition

  1. Define by function
  2. Define by structure
  3. Define by analysis
  4. Define by what the term does not mean

A definition essay explains what a term means. When writing a definition essay, remember what term is being defined, to present a strong and basic definition, use reasonable facts, illustrations, or anecdotes to fully explain the definition.

Definition Essay Format

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Introduction paragraph:

Hook - anecdote, interesting realities, humorous story, personal experience  

Thesis statement: topic + definition

Open any paragraph grabbing the attention of your readers. Include a definition to provide a basis and consider opening with a contradictory image to illustrate the definition. Follow writing with specific points which makes it easier to follow when writing the essay. 

Body paragraphs:

Each paragraph to begin with a topic sentence

Improve body paragraphs 

a) analyze: split and define each part

b) compare: show similarities and/or differences with other concepts

c) exemplify: use examples and illustrate body paragraph

d) negate: define what the topic is not so you can simplify what it is

e) illustrate: define the subject in detail, giving specific detailed information

f) give background: relate the history of the word or idea


Summary, prediction, forecast, narrate, anecdote, comparison, evaluate etc. 

Review the key points. 

Reflect images and ideas from the introduction.

Do and Don’t of Definition Essays

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Do and Dont's of Definition Essays are:

Do's Dont's
 Do narrow the term if it has an excessively wide meaning. Don’t try to write a paper with a well-known obvious term. 
 Do look for concrete transitions to connect the parts of the essay together.Don’t use definitions like: ‘A is when’ or ‘B is where.’ Try and make the definitions look more scientific.
 Do try to think of a definition that would be uniquely yours. Do not write in an exceedingly-detailed manner. Nonetheless, don’t be too brief either.
 Do proofread the essay cautiously to avoid factual mistakes.Don’t repeat the defined term within the bounds of the definition itself. 

Key Points to Consider
  1. Remember that giving a definition is not just replication of what has been written in dictionaries.
  2. Use the definition that already exists, if you cannot define a new meaning for a concept; give your own clarification of it.
  3. Choose terms that you recognize, or ones that have impacted your personal experience.
  4. Do not try to define a term that you don’t comprehend, or else you will confuse the readers with the wrong description.
  5. You can define a term by explaining its purpose, functions, structure or nature.
  6. You can also define the term by stipulating what it does not mean, or by comparing it and giving emphasis to the differences.
  7. Follow a determined structure. It would be reasonable to present your term in the introduction, give protracted explanations in the body paragraphs, and end with brief conclusions.

Definition Essay Topics

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Definition Essay Topics
  • Modesty
  • Self-assurance
  • Dedication
  • Integrity
  • Feminism
  • A happy marriage
  • True friendship
  • Courage
  • Citizenship
  • Success
  • Heroism
  • Thrift
  • Sloth
  • Vanity
  • Pride
  • Beauty
  • Sense of Humor
  • Love
  • Charisma
  • Sportsmanship
  • Racism
  • Optimism
  • Peace of mind
  • Respect
  • Ambition

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