Definition Essay Topics 2023

July 5, 2023 Martha Simons
Definition Essay Topics

Table of Contents

It is true for all essay types, especially for definition essays, that they seem simple when you get started. The moment you are in the mix, things start to unravel and you find it hard to take a hold of them. Before you know it, the whole essay falls upside down on its head. Definition essays are tricky in this regard because of their scope and context. Potentially, you can pick any subject, such as a person, a word, or a phrase, and then turn the narrative into a complete essay. But more than anything else, it is easier said than done. Students need to write essays that cannot only grab the attention of the readers but also help them in getting solid grades.

This post is dedicated to exploring the focus and nature of definition essays, structure, selection criteria, and suggestions on choosing the right topic. So, stay tuned till the end to know all about definition essay topics and ideas.

Definition Essay 101

Definition Essay 101

If the name is any indication, a definition essay defines its subject at length. At the outset, it seems like just another essay that students are assigned in schools and colleges. However, what sets it apart from narrative, descriptive, and argumentative essays is its purpose. The purpose of definition essays, as they are part of the expository family, is to define a term or a phrase for the readers.

Simply put, writers need to explain the concept or a complex term to the readers. That’s why students need to make sure that they understand the assignment before moving on to writing a definition essay.

Here is a general flow of the definition essay:

  • Common definitions and meanings
  • Origin of the term
  • Iterations of meanings and definitions
  • Background and history of the term
  • Your personal opinion in light of common usage

Ideal Length of A Definition Essay

The word count for essays can vary. Theoretically, it can run somewhere between 300 words to over 5000 words. When the length of the essay is not prescribed, you can keep it around 500 to 700. Even though you can stretch it to the maximum, it is always a great idea to focus on quality rather than quantity.

In the course of school or college studies, students will go through different topics and ideas for definition essays. Some will be more abstract and meta, such as love, liberty, and loss, while others can be more targeted and specific, including technology, mathematics, and science. If you are to choose your topic, we suggest you go for the abstract ones as they offer more creativity and room for experimentation.

Structure of A Definition Essay

Every essay has different sections that act as building blocks. In the structure of an essay, they must be stacked so that their value increases concerning the overall essay. That’s where the structure and format of definition essays come into the picture.

In this section, we will go through four of the major components of an essay that make the definition essay whole.


The opening or the introduction of the essay sets things in motion. It should start with a hook to grab the attention of the readers and then provide some background information before stating the thesis. This helps readers to ease into the topic and ensure that all the bases are covered.


A thesis is the central point of an essay or a paper. If there is no thesis in a paper or an essay, it cannot be termed as such. A thesis statement carries the main focal point or opinion of the writer. The best place to mention it is in the closing lines of the introduction where it bridges the two sections.

Main Body

The main body or body paragraphs cover the main subject. If you are writing a definition essay, it will cover the history, usage, and previous iterations of the term or the subject before moving on to the conclusion. Keep in mind that the body requires more words and paragraphs than any other section of the essay.


When everything is done, it is time to move on to the closing or conclusion of the essay. The first part of this section is the reiteration of the thesis. When that’s out of the way, you need to summarize all the essay’s main points from the body. In the end, the departing thoughts should make the closing lines memorable for the readers.

Do’s & Don’ts of Choosing Definition Argument Topics

Before we move on to the suggestions and topic ideas for definition essays, it is time to take a look at some of the best practices and the things to avoid in choosing the topic.


  • Start working on the essay before the deadline so you have plenty of time to research and experiment
  • Go through a couple of samples before you start writing to get a clear idea of what is expected from you
  • List and grade the options of topics you have to choose from
  • Before moving on to the in-depth research, take a bird’s eye view of the potential topics
  • Gauge the authenticity of the topic before moving forward


  • Never pick something that you have no preliminary basic information
  • Never choose a topic that is too boring for you. Keep in mind that if it is boring for you, it will be so for your readers
  • Never pick terms and phrases that have no in-depth information on the internet
  • Never go for a term or phrase that is too controversial as it can start a debate. Your primary goal is to define not to argue
  • Never opt for words and subjects that are too generic and everyone knows everything about them

Common Definition Essay Topics List

Based on the scope and context of the essays, they fall into one of the many categories. In our blog, we are more inclined toward suggesting topics and ideas rather than categorizing and grading them into different slots.

Exploratory Definition Essay Ideas

  • How can we say that someone is brave and not courageous?
  • How can you define faith, especially in the context of the modern world?
  • Define the true meanings of love
  • What is the best way to define beauty?
  • Trust and the roles it plays in our lives
  • Honesty used to be the best policy
  • The differences between wisdom and knowledge
  • What is generosity and its iterations in the modern world?
  • Respect and its manifestation 
  • Why does hatred consider the evilest of emotions?

Definition Argument Essay Topics

  • Students should be allowed to use smartphones in classes
  • Defining racial segregation in the US
  • What would be the worst crimes of all?
  • Define capital punishment as justice
  • The youth is best occupied on grounds
  • Patriotism and its importance in the modern world
  • Definition and main causes of global warming
  • The Case of inherent social responsibility in the corporate world
  • Making uniforms obligatory in high schools
  • Schools should be barred from assigning homework

Definition Essay Topic Ideas On College

  • Who can be a best friend to a person?
  • Defining the parameters of good mental health
  • Is male chauvinism already dead?
  • Define the true nature of hatred
  • Brand loyalty and its importance for small brands
  • Definition and scope of cyberbullying
  • Antisemitism and the Role of cultural lines in modern segregation
  • What is success in life?
  • Maturity and its onset in men and women
  • Self-determination as an effective political tool

Humorous Definition Essay Topics

  • Making funny cat videos the best things in the world
  • What makes a date awkward?
  • Sarcasm – a hidden weapon for the deadliest assassins
  • Why should celebrities go for political offices?
  • People and their love for advertisements
  • Why are dogs people’s best friends?
  • Keeping with the high school stereotypes can be good for you
  • Do animals have more rights than people
  • How to become the most annoying version of yourself
  • Wasting your time and getting away with it

Controversial Definition Essay Topics

  • Importance of happiness in everyday life
  • Vaccines are good for us
  • Playing video games is not as bad as people think
  • Nationalism and its evil role in modern politics
  • E-learning and its Role in the post-COVID World
  • AI – evolution or global hazard for the species
  • Advantages and disadvantages of spam
  • Role of Punishment in a healthy family
  • The Death of Romance in the modern world
  • What are the positive aspects of war?
  • Healthy Weight and Its Connection with body aesthetics
  • Honesty is too unattainable a trait for modern main

Meta Definition Essay Topics

  • What is your way to define freedom in the face of global politics and technology?
  • Compassion – its definition and importance today
  • Is being lonely a bad idea?
  • Only boring people get bored
  • Laughter is the best medicine for all mental maladies
  • Define grief and explain its connection with love and loss
  • The true meanings of friendship in our lives
  • Adolescence and the idea of growing up in this world
  • Explain charisma and its role in leadership
  • Civility in personal and professional life
  • Defining the term freedom in the context of modern man

Simple Definition Essay Topic Ideas

  • What does family mean to the common man?
  • Democracy and its horrors in the light of recent elections
  • Equal rights – a dream or an illusion
  • Poverty and explaining wealth beyond money
  • How can you make a house your home?
  • Effects of Kindness on People in everyday life
  • Terrorism and its guises in the current political world
  • The meanings of marriage and the idea of a soulmate
  • E-commerce and its Impact on traditional market systems
  • Colonization and its Aftermath in Asia and Africa

Topics for Definition Essays On Love, Poetry, & Music

  • Platonic love is the true love
  • Defining poverty and wealth
  • Poetry has got more admiration in the world than any other art form
  • Expression of love in different cultures
  • For the love of music
  • Music is the best form of communication
  • How emotions and music affect one another

Definition Essay Ideas on Food, Health, & Sport

  • Health and its importance to enjoy life
  • Mental health and its effects on our functioning
  • Why is taking part in sports good for you?
  • Are physical and mental health two different things?
  • How can you define healthy eating?
  • The impact of what we eat on what we are and what we become

Ideas for Definition Essays on Environment & Nature

  • Is nature everything around us?
  • Environment and its Impact on our thinking
  • Tracing the origins of the word “environment”
  • Explain different definitions of the word “nature”
  • What is deforestation and how it impacts our quality of living?
  • Endangered species and the idea of raising extinct ones

Definition Essay Topics on Politics, Governance, & History

  • Is “politics” inherently a bad word?
  • What is politics in the professional setting?
  • History and its impact on our present and future
  • Defining the term governance and its effect on third-world countries

Definition Essay Topics List on Business, IT, & Economics

  • Defining e-commerce and its Effects on conventional markets
  • How can you define a businessperson?
  • Economic freedom and its impact on decisions
  • Tracing the origins of the term “Information Technology”
  • Meanings of business ethics
Final Thoughts

Writing a definition essay seems like a straightforward task. You pick a word or a phrase, conduct in-depth research, and then come up with an outline to write the complete essay on. However, a little down the road and you will realize that it is more than what you bargained for. In this blog, we have covered all the bases for students, from defining the definition essay to topic suggestions for the writers to choose from. They can either pick the topic as is or they can experiment with it to have something with new angles.

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