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The Writer’s Reference Book



A definition essay should share a writer's understanding about an idea or object. When defining a loose object or idea, such as a home, you might want to draw on your personal experiences. You might want to write about a commonly used expression, such as "Give me a break." A writer could want to talk about the various ways the expression is used, where it comes from, and why it is so commonly used.

A writer may also want to address a hard-to-grasp concept, like love, or a traditional American custom. A definition essay should be personal and stimulating and may even be amusing. When writing the definition essay, it is important to analyze where the subject came from, the history, the consequences, and the traditional thoughts or physical characteristics. Anecdotes, facts, and examples may be used to move the essay along.


Don't rely on old dictionary definitions.

Don't be afraid to get creative and put a new spin on a much discussed idea or item.

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