Define Explication Essay Outline

You see a new word that absolutely means nothing to you. The word seems interesting enough so as a wise student you decide to look it up in the dictionary. After researching the term online, you find a proper definition that seems logical enough. Great, you have learned a new word!

However, sometimes a term cannot be described in a sentence or two. This word is so complex and deep that it requires hundreds or even thousands of words to explain it.

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What is a Definition Essay?

A definition essay can be tricky to write. This type of paper requires you to write a partially personal and also formal explanation of . Considering the fact that this is an essay, you can not pick a term that is describable in a few words. It has to be a complex term that has significant background and origin in history, as well as a term that people can relate to in some way or form. For example, the word "love". It is seemingly impossible to explain this concept in a sentence or two, so we must create an entire essay about it to give it an accurate UNIVERSAL representation!

Types of Definitions commonly used in Definition Essay

  • Analysis: Break the subject into parts and define each part individually.
  • Classification: What classes does the subject belong to?
  • Comparison: Unusual things may be defined by showing its likeness to the common or its contrast from it.
  • Details: What are the characteristics and other distinguishing features that describe the idea of the paper?
  • Negation: Mention what it is not in order to clear the ground for what it is.
  • Origins and Causes: What is the origin of the theme? What is the background information? What is the history of the idea?
  • Results, Effects, and Uses: Describe the after effect and uses of the subject.

Interesting Topics

  • What makes someone a Hero
  • What is Success?
  • Describe Love.
  • Explain the definition of Beauty.
  • What is Happiness?
  • How can one define Respect?
  • What is the definition of Loyalty?
  • What is Courage?
  • Describe Heroism.
  • What is Friendship?

These are just some common examples of definition essay questions and topics that are commonly asked on tests and coursework assignments. There are an infinite number of words that can be defined in the span of an essay. The goal here is to pick one that as a student you feel comfortable explaining and portraying. It is time to become a word artist!


A definition essay outline will vary in length based on the term one is describing. As stated previously, some terms are fairly logical and more or less "easy to understand". There are some terms, however, that require deep research and analysis in order to be able and formulate an accurate representation of its meaning! Regardless Every Definition Essay should be written in the classic Intro-Body(s)-Conclusion format.

Steps to take Pre-Writing

Before you even begin writing, obviously a word has to be chosen for the essay to be based around. Here are a few tips to consider before choosing your !

  • Choosing a Proper Term:
  • As stated previously, it is impossible to write a hefty custom essay on a simple word. That is why it is important to be meticulous during the decision process. Choosing something like a noun is most likely not going to work out. For example, if you chose the term "pencil", there is really not much depth that you as the writer can get into. Sticking in the same sphere, choosing something like "writing" is much more subjective and gives you as the writer some room for implementing different ideas!
  • The Word Should be Multi-Dimensional
  • Think about it like this: there are certain words in every language that have multiple interpretations; some people will perceive them differently than others!
  • Avoid using terms that are universal in every language; an example would be like "hello" or "telephone". Though there are ways you can stretch information on these terms, it is better to pick a juicy one from the start!
  • Term Familiarity
  • It will be practically impossible to write about a term that has no correlation with your life. You should choose a word that you know well and that also has undiscovered boxes in your life. Ideally, in any research assignment you ever get, there will be some personality knowledgeable gain!
  • Do some historical research!
  • Considering that humans have been lingual for centuries, there is a 100% chance that your term has a significant past. Check out the Oxford Dictionary's explanation in order to get yourself a point of relevance!


As with any other essay, you are using this part to start informing your writers about the contents of your paper. In a definition essay, the introduction serves two main goals; first, you must give a "standard" definition of the term, and then give the thesis definition!

  • Standard Definition: The initial section of the introduction should state the dictionary version. This is important for the readers to have a starting point in regards to the term so as to clarify any possible questions. Also, this is especially important because the standard definition will slightly vary from the thesis one, which allows for multi-dimensionality!

Thesis Statement

Similar to the classic thesis statement, the thesis definition is your fully completed version of what the term actually means. This is a hybrid of the standard definition, while also mixing in your personal experiences and explanation style! Do not try and describe too much in this section, as you want to split up the bulk of it for the rest of the essay! Make sure that you don’t use passive phrases involving the word when defining your term. The phrases like and are especially ponderous.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs are the part of the essay that really breaks down the term into its core parts. You are taking every variation of the definition and its history and breaking it down into organized sections. An example of good body paragraph structure:

  • Body Paragraph 1: History and Origin
  • Body Paragraph 2: Full dictionary explanation and use.
  • Body Paragraph 3: Personal definition created from experience.


The conclusion is fairly simple and to the point. The main goal here is to summarize the main points of your argument. Rephrase the main parts of the definition and make sure you summed up everything you planned on saying. The last thing that should be mentioned is how this term has impacted you. Usually, before even writing the essay, there is a reason a specific term is picked and part of the reason has to do with personal experience.

Post-writing Tip

Mention how the definition you were talking about affected you.

If the term you define plays a specific part in your life and experiences, your final concluding comments are a great place to concisely mention the role it plays.

Definition Essay Examples

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Jackson Super Writer, from EssayPro

When writing a definition essay, a common mistake is choosing a term that is way too broad for the given assignment. When you’ve chosen a term, try to narrow it down so it is easier to define and find examples for. As the article articulates, the term’s origin is very important to the word’s meaning itself. For example, the word “crush” comes from a variety of similar words in nordic languages. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to list every single one of those words as examples. As with word “crush”, a word can have multiple meanings. You can crush a bag of chips and you can have a crush on someone. Whatever definition your essay has, make sure to define it in a unique way. Be creative and approach it from a new angle. As the article states, it isn’t a bad idea to put in examples from your own life of how that specific word has impacted you. This will definitely make it more interesting for the reader.

Need Some Definition Essay Guidance?

Sometimes it can be hard to find a term we know well that also has a multi-dimensional definition. This is a common problem for college students and one that is commonly solved by buying an essay online! EssayPro, the best essay writing service on the web, has dedicated paper writers that know all the tips and tricks necessary to write an effective definition essay, leaving you and your professor satisfied!

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A literary analysis could be as old as literature itself. They have become a very specific style of an essay in the academic world, and there is every reason for you to enjoy the process of constructing your own. They are an opportunity for you to demonstrate your comprehension of texts and your ability to effectively communicate your ideas about them to your graders. If you simply don’t have time to do this, or if it seems too difficult to complete the task before the due date, skip to the last paragraph.

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For a quick example, we could look at an analysis of Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Ivanhoe’ in relation to social responses to transition in power. We could construct an argument that the old novel discusses helplessness in the face of ostensibly insurmountable odds versus empowerment through moral compromise and opportunism. We could use a theoretical lens such as Marxism, modernism or even post-colonialism to look at the relationships between the characters in the story. Alternatively, we could use our own perspective. Nonetheless, we need to support our ideas by examining the characters and groups in the book, such as Rebecca, the Jews of York, the Knights Templar, Robin Hood, the Saxons and the Normans. The writer would then show how the themes in the book highlight some common themes in human experience in as much as a transition in authority elicit various social responses. Pro academic writer could use a real, modern world event to compare and contrast the themes such as the fall of the Soviet Union or even the election of President Donald Trump.

A number of blogs and books which attempt to answer this question often miss something. I want to offer you something I hope will be encouraging, enlightening, and will give you a great starting point from which to approach your assessment. To offer what is the best definition of a literary analysis essay, I want to first write about truth; an idea at the very heart of our analysis. This is where our inspiration and where the meat of our analysis can come from. After dealing with what to write, writing your essay can be a practical task of organizing your ideas and writing them down.

Literary Analysis Essays and What to Write

Interestingly, the word ‘author’ comes from the same origin as ‘authority’. Many writers who give tips on how to write a literary analysis essay discuss understanding what the author intended. However, many years ago influential academics started reviewing the literary approach that ‘the author is dead’. This is linked to the postmodernist idea that objective truth does not exist and that there can only be subjective responses. I don’t agree with a purely postmodernist perspective since I am convinced that there is an objective truth in all things. Nonetheless, I love it. I believe that I can not know objective truth and can only attempt to understand it as well as possible. I can not even know if I have discovered truth since new information could emerge tomorrow. The postmodernists liberated us from the need to comply with an authoritative perspective on texts. We don’t have to be correct. A literary analysis essay should include arguments which support your analysis and show your reasons for making the arguments you offer. That is all. There are no wrong answers so long as you make rational points which you can support.

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Read the Text

Don’t cheat yourself. There is just as much chance that some original, interesting, or even quirky interpretation could occur to you while reading, as to anyone else. Read the text. Don’t sell yourself short of a getting a high mark by basing your opinions on those you find on google. Compare your ideas with those of others, but read the text.

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Are You Answering the Question?

Despite the fact that it is deceptively simple, just answer the question. Stick to the question. Make sure everything you do is supporting your answer to the question. Sometimes you will be given an open-ended task, and in this case, you have the opportunity to explore your own question about the text. Still, decide on your question and stick to it. However, most of the time, students are given literary analysis essay prompts. A detailed discussion of the types of prompts assessors offer deserves it’s own blog entry. For now, let it be suffice to say that we need to carefully explore the meaning of the question offered by the prompt and focus our writing to respond to it in a meaningful way.

Proper Outline

You can make your task a lot easier by writing an outline for your literary analysis essay. An outline, or written plan, is like a framework for a house. Instead of just putting our building materials into a pile on the ground and calling the resulting mess a house or, likewise, merely listing all our thoughts into paragraphs, we look at the ideas in point form and make decisions about how they flow. Which ideas build onto others? How do they look together? Are they all focused on building an answer to the essay question? More often than not, I get my best ideas while writing my outline. I can see, at a glance, how the golden thread of logic will weave through my essay and it inspires me. When you see your progression of logic you can find holes in your argument, get fresh ideas about strengthening your points and make decisions about the most effective path by which to lead your reader to your conclusion. This makes your end result a lot firmer and translates into marks.

The writer also needs to consider the essay rubric when formulating this plan. Don’t underestimate how valuable it is to know how your work will be judged. Rubrics can be a little different, and at times, a student will not have access to the rubric chart that pertains to their task specifically. However, no one is reinventing the wheel. See the image below for a very useful example that can guide your response. The rubric focuses the grader’s critique on the writer’s ability to deal with literary analysis topics succinctly. It asks the grader to consider whether the writer has supported their ideas and met the criteria.

Getting to the Business of Writing.

So, you have ideas about the text, have carefully examined the essay question, and written a plan. Now it is time to paint the house. Have a look at this article about how to make your essay writing more interesting. Also, you can benefit from reading some good literary analysis essay examples to explore samples of how top writers have fleshed out their plan into a compelling and well-articulated argument.

There are a number of important points to remember while you get busy tapping at keys on your computer:

  • Keep your message succinct.
  • Employ a rational progression of logic by which you build on your ideas in an effective way.
  • Write as though you are interested in persuading the reader of your idea; sell your perspective.
  • It is more interesting if you can vary your wording and sentence structures throughout your work.

Have another look at the sample of a literary analysis essay rubric above. When you have finished writing your argument, and you are ready to describe your work by writing the introduction and conclusion, test it against the rubric. How does your introduction explain how you will meet these criteria? Your introduction should tell the reader what you are about to explain to them and the conclusion should summarize how you have supported your idea. If you are going to achieve the goals in the rubric, think about the measure in relation to your first and last paragraphs.

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

Elite Pro Tutor

Literary analysis is a challenging essay to write as well as analytical essay. While writing an essay of this kind, it’s important to spend a lot of time drafting and outlining beforehand. When writing about literature, the most vital tip I can give you is to make sure to write your piece as if the reader of your writing has already read the work that you are discussing. Literary analysis is NOT a book report. Do not include plot summary in your essay. While writing, stick to exclusively analysis. Another handy shortcut to writing these essays is to focus on questions such as “What was the author’s intent” and “what effect does it have on the reader”. The article mentions the importance of an argument. An argument is the main claim of your essay. In literary analysis, it’s extremely important that you articulate your claim in your thesis and refer back to your thesis at the end of each paragraph/main point that you make. This will alleviate any confusion that the reader could have about your paper.

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