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Great Definition Essay Topic Prompts

  • Posted by Amanda
  • January 10, 2019
Great Definition Essay Topic Prompts

There are many words and phrases that are quite easy to define. These would never be covered in a definition essay. Instead, definition essays are written to explore concepts that aren’t as easy to define in concrete terms. For example, a word or phrase may mean something different depending on where you live or were raised. Other words start with one definition, and then evolve over time. Definitions can also vary according to your experience, belief systems, and culture.

You may also find words and phrases in which the definition of these is widely agreed upon. However, they are still good subjects for definition essays because they are complex, and require quite a bit of research and a lengthy explanation in order to properly define them.

You can also write a definition essay about a word or phrase that people frequently misunderstand. One example of this is the word chemical. People use the word when they say things like:

  • There are chemicals in that water.

  • I don’t eat food that has chemicals in it.

  • Chemicals are dangerous.

Common use of the word is to describe things that are harmful. In reality, that is inaccurate and incomplete. So, you could write a definition essay about chemistry that explores the meaning of the word, and how its use has evolved over time.

To write a definition essay, you explore the meaning of a word or phrase. The challenge is that you have to do this objectively. Your goal isn’t to declare one particular definition of a word as being superior. Instead, it’s more important to detail how and why a word or phrase has the meaning that it does in any particular context.

In order to write a great definition essay, you have to start with an interesting concept. It’s challenging to find one that isn’t too simple, too complex, or that hasn’t been done to death. To help you get started, we have provided a few definition essay topics  here.

  1. Success

What does success mean? How do you quantify it? Why do so many people define it differently? Why is it that so many people can be seemingly successful in one area of their lives but not others? Write a definition essay that explores the various factors influencing our perception of success.

  1. Trust

  2. Ambitions

  3. Power

  4. Respect

Some people believe that is respect is earned and courtesy is a given. They often see respect as a form of reverence only to be shown to people who are worthy of it. Others believe that respect is to be shown to everyone from the get go. In addition to this, there are varying perspectives on how respect is show. Is it obedience? Is it loyalty? Is it adhering to a certain code of conduct?

  1. Heroes

  2. Courage

  3. Human indifference

  4. Generosity

Are all acts of giving acts of generosity? Is it generous when the person giving something is also getting an emotional reward from the experience? Do generosity and selflessness mean the same thing?

  1. Dedication

  2. Love

  3. Self-discipline

  4. The Second Amendment

Of all the constitutional amendments, none creates debate more than the second amendment. What exactly did the founders mean by this amendment. How is the term well-regulated militia intended to be translated?

  1. Freedom of Speech

  2. Wealth

  3. Copyright

  4. Torrenting

  5. Intellectual Property

  6. Creativity

  7. Poverty

There doesn’t seem to be a concrete definition of poverty. For some people the standard is survival. For others, anybody who isn’t able to achieve financial stability might be considered poor. It’s certainly clear that poverty looks different to someone in a first world country that has access to resources in spite of being poor than it does to somebody living without many resources in an emerging nation. Write an essay exploring the meaning of and perceptions about poverty.

  1. The American Dream

  2. Conservative

  3. Liberal

  4. Libertarianism

  5. Socialism

The terms socialism, communism, and authoritarianism are thrown around quite frequently. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about each of these political philosophies. This would be a good time to explore the meaning of one or many of these political terms.

  1. Communism

  2. Authoritarianism

  3. Gentrification

  4. Perfectionism

  5. Charisma

  6. Peer Pressure

  7. Persistence

  8. Evil

  9. Presidential

  10. Class

  11. Duty

  12. Honor

  13. Commitment

  14. Stress

  15. Patriotism

  16. Fascism

  17. Cultural Appropriation

  18. Senioritis

This word is often used to describe the condition of high school seniors who just want to party and coast their way through their last year of high school. They might blow off assignments, skip classes, and seem to be less motivated than ever.

Is senioritis always the right word to use? Many of the behaviors that accompany senioritis also accompany depression and anxiety. Does applying the word senioritis to struggling or unmotivated students cause people to miss more serious problems?

  1. Racism

  2. Anti Semitism

  3. Oppression

  4. Black Holes

  5. Evolution

  6. Darwinism

  7. Manifest Destiny

  8. Cults

  9. Anarchy

  10. Romance

  11. Pornography

  12. Augmented Reality

  13. Virtual Reality

  14. Plagiarism

  15. Self Control

  16. Being Woke

  17. Confidence

  18. Personal Ethics or Morality

Are personal ethics or morality subjective, or are there concrete standards that people must meet in order to be considered moral or ethical? What do people mean when they publicly declare they are making a stance based on their personal ethics or moral code? You can explore this concept through a personal ethics definition essay.

  1. Corporate Personhood

  2. Role Mode

  3. Excitement

  4. Cruelty

  5. Ambition

  6. Physical Fitness

  7. Quality of Life

  8. Modesty

  9. Virtue

  10. Nihilism

  11. Existentialism

  12. Offensiveness

  13. Rudeness

  14. Rejection

  15. Lust

  16. Family

  17. Adoration

  18. Perjury

  19. The 25th Amendment

  20. Assault Weapon

  21. Civil Rights

  22. Trigger

  23. Electoral College

The electoral college is another hot topic. There are people who say that it’s outdated and no longer serves a beneficial purpose. Others believe it gives people in less populated states a fair chance of influencing the presidential election. The question is, do most people actually understand how the electoral college works? A definition essay would explain this concept in detail.

  1. Family Values

  2. Happiness

  3. Use of Force

  4. Creativity

  5. Mid Life Crisis

  6. Safe Spaces

  7. Human Life

  8. Parental Rights

  9. Cheating

  10. Misogyny

  11. Misandry

  12. Imagination

  13. Male Chauvinism

  14. Tribalism

  15. Bigotry

  16. Ageism

  17. Sexual Harassment

  18. Homophobia

  19. Transphobia

  20. Islamophobia

  21. Leadership

  22. Worth Ethic

  23. Optimism

  24. Negativity

  25. Pragmatism

  26. Hope

  27. Paganism

  28. Perfectionism

  29. Cold Wars

  30. GDP

  31. The Value of a Billion Dollars

  32. The Perfect Day

  33. The Perfect Wedding

  34. The Perfect Vacation

  35. The Perfect Shopping Trip

  36. The Perfect Marriage

  37. The Perfect Relationship

  38. The United Nations

  39. Nuclear Power

  40. Atomic Bombs

  41. Renewable Energy

  42. Restoration Ecology

  43. Conservation

  44. The Five Dimensions of a Culture

  45. Organizational City

  46. What is a Global City?

  47. Cyber Crime

  48. Define The Blues

  49. An Economic Recession

  50. Santa Clause

  51. Smart Devices

  52. United Arab Emirates

  53. Suicide

  54. The Ozone Layer

  55. Position Based Negotiation

  56. Smart Cities

  57. Axis of Evil

  58. Opportunity Costs

  59. Meaningful Praise

  60. Constructive Criticism

  61. Temple

  62. Church

  63. Mosque

  64. A Dedication

  65. Value

  66. Missionary Work

  67. Simple Life

  68. Mortal Sin

  69. Venial Sin

  70. Complete Knowledge

  71. Compromise

  72. Conversion

  73. Relativism

  74. Gratitude

  75. Christlike

  76. Importance of Kindness

  77. Abortion Legality

  78. Peer Pressure

  79. Ambition

  80. Business Woman

  81. Surrealism

  82. Selfie

  83. Modern Art

  84. Social Media

  85. e-Commerce

  86. Tsunami

  87. Hurricane

  88. Typhoon

  89. Downshifting

  90. Northern Lights

  91. Individuality

  92. Group Dynamics

  93. Free Will

  94. Ivy League

  95. Sister City

  96. Free Will

  97. HBCU

  98. Civil Wars

  99. Women’s Lib

  100. Feminazi

  101. WW II

  102. WW I

  103. Parliamentary Procedures

  104. Brexit

  105. The Two Party System

  106. Antebellum

  107. The Victorian Era

  108. Dark Ages

  109. Renaissance

  110. Plantations

  111. Stock Market

  112. Commerce

  113. Accounting

  114. Economic Depression

  115. Business Administration

  116. Cash Book

  117. Ledger

  118. Finance

  119. Micro Economics

  120. Macro Economics

  121. Production

  122. Salaries

  123. Producers

  124. Pop Music

  125. Musical Charts

  126. Chords And Scales

  127. Brass Instruments

  128. Percussion Instruments

  129. Woodwind Instruments

  130. Religious Tolerance

  131. The Vatican

  132. Mecca

  133. Priesthood

  134. Sainthood

  135. Sikhism

  136. Rock Climbing

  137. The World Cup

  138. Live Theater

  139. Immersive Theater

  140. Experimental Theater

  141. Children’s Theater

  142. Educational Technology

  143. Operating Systems

  144. Telecommunication

  145. Program Languages

  146. Email

  147. IOT

  148. Android

  149. Apple

  150. CPU

  151. Motherboard

  152. Mainframe

  153. The Motivation of Terrorist

  154. Attachment to Inanimate Objects

  155. Fast Food Generation

  156. Child Trafficking

  157. Drug TEsting

  158. Euthanasia

  159. Genetic Engineering

  160. Homeopathy

  161. Essential Oils

  162. International Financial Reporting

  163. SWOT Analysis

  164. FUD

  165. Casual Dining

  166. Fine Dining

  167. Social Engineering

  168. Organ Donation

  169. Autopsy

  170. Body Farms

  171. Forensic Science

  172. Organic

  173. Habitat

  174. Erosion

  175. Fish Kill

  176. Algae Bloom

  177. Invasive Species

  178. Overfishing

  179. Ugly Produce

  180. Bioswales

  181. Stormwater Management

  182. Wastewater Management

  183. Endangered Species

  184. Extinction

  185. Animal Husbandry

  186. Construction Management

  187. Project Management

  188. Architecture

  189. Rooftop Gardening

  190. Hydroponics

  191. CBD Oil

  192. Video Streaming

  193. Cloud Computing

  194. Customer Relationship Management

  195. Phone Center

  196. Outsourcing

  197. Recruiting

  198. Out Placement

  199. Blacklisting

  200. Chinese Firewall Policy

  201. Strike

  202. Labor Union

  203. Labor Dispute

  204. Management

  205. Representation

  206. What is an Autodidact

  207. Acid Rain

  208. Theoretical Physics

  209. Aerospace Engineering

  210. Time Management

  211. Space Time Continuum

  212. Eyewitness Testimony Flaws

  213. Age Related Dementia

  214. Unicorn Company

  215. Angel Investor

  216. Psychoanalysis

Researching a Personal Definition Essay

One you have decided on a word or phrase to use, you’ll want to do thorough research. One place to start is with the origin of the word or phrase. You can then start from that historical perspective. You can also explore the use of that word or phrase in literature, political speeches, even in movies or television shows.

Final Thoughts

If you can find an interesting topic, and the right research sources, a definition essay can be a relatively interesting assignment. It’s fascinating to explore the origins of words and phrases as well as explore the ways in which we use them. Hopefully, this list of 30 topic ideas will inspire you to explore a word or phrase that has meaning to you.

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