Online Writing Lab

Roane State Community College

Types of Papers: Definition/Define

To write a definition essay, you’ll need to define a word that:

  1. has a complex meaning
  2. is disputable (could mean different things to different people)

It wouldn't be wise to choose a word like "cat" for a definition essay. The word, "cat" has a pretty simple meaning, so we'll have trouble writing an entire essay about it.  Similarly, not many people disagree over the definition of the word "cat," which means our definition will be short and ordinary.

What about choosing to define the word, “family”?  Let’s check it out!

Sample Paper