Definition Essay

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The aim in this essay is to define, explain, and exemplify something. Generally, in definition essays, we try to make the terms that we use understandable for the reader. Our understanding of a term may be different from the general concept, or we may be focusing on a specific aspect. Giving an exact definition would enable the reader to follow the ideas and arguments in your essay.  



Definition of a term is generally given in the introduction. The development of the essay is dedicated to the explanation of the term. There are many ways to explain a term. It is also possible to employ more than one of these methods of development. Below are some of the types of organization that can be used. To illustrate these types of organization, the term Total Quality Management (TQM) is given as an example:


After writing the essay, we can check to see whether the term is clearly defined or there are still vague points.


Let's have a look at the organization of the sample essay "What is This Thing Called Love?" The writer has explained the term "love" by explaining first what love is not (comparison / contrast organization). Here is the analysis of the sample essay:


Depending on the kind of organization, you can choose certain transitions; for example, if you are showing the differences between TQM and other management systems, you use on the other hand, whereas, etc.


Sample definition essay:


What is 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.


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, dizziness, 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.


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. retrieved May 12, 2004


Written by Oya Ozagac, May 2004