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Great Definition Essay Topic Prompts

  • Posted by AllTopReviews
  • January 10, 2019
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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. 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. 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. 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. Rejection

  14. Lust

  15. Family

  16. Adoration

  17. Perjury

  18. The 25th Amendment

  19. Assault Weapon

  20. Civil Rights

  21. Trigger

  22. 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. Misogyny

  10. Misandry

  11. Imagination

  12. Male Chauvinism

  13. Tribalism

  14. Bigotry

  15. Ageism

  16. Sexual Harassment

  17. Homophobia

  18. Transphobia

  19. Islamophobia

  20. Leadership

  21. Worth Ethic

  22. Optimism

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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