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A lot of individuals enjoy tackling definition essays. Not only are these types of essays straightforward, but they are also relatively easy to create, especially if you know what is expected of you. Like all essays, good definition essays are grounded in solid research and must be accompanied by well-supported evidence.

What is a definition essay?

A definition essay is an essay that attempts to define an idea, term, phrase or concept. Some definition essays are created with the sole objective if providing literal and definite meanings while most are abstract. Examples of abstract definition essays include those whose topics feature issues such as love, success, happiness, etc.

Though simple, they can be deceptively challenging to handle. Definition essays require you to have a personal, subjective approach that is also academic and objective at the same time, which can be tricky to pull off.

Definition essay topics and prompts

  1. Is there value in knowing another language and how does it positively or negatively affect human experiences
  2. What traits should good leaders have?
  3. Does the college degree have value in today’s contemporary world anymore?
  4. Can intelligence be measured? What does it mean to be an intelligent person?
  5. How can the maturity of an individual be measured?
  6. Are there certain things that can be done to improve or lower intelligence?
  7. Can education games improve the way that people learn?
  8. Can college students lead healthy lifestyles on a budget? If so, how?
  9. What traits should a good parent have?
  10. Are there personality traits that role models should possess?
  11. Are there things that can be done to enhance your time management skills?
  12. Society is changing all the time. What are some of the traditional trends that you can think of that have been replaced?
  13. Because of technology, how are social issues being reviewed in the contemporary world?
  14. Can laziness be good sometimes?
  15. What role does technology play in the discrimination of minorities?
  16. What does it actually mean to be a good, reliable person?
  17. Can society ever really enjoy equal rights across the board?
  18. Is it possible to bring an end to world poverty?
  19. Is sustainable living really sustainable?
  20. Does multiculturalism have a role in society?
  21. What exactly is humanitarianism? Are there characteristics of a good humanitarian?
  22. Is modern art too modern?
  23. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Should women have a right to choose?
  24. Is there anything that can be done to improve global warming?
  25. What can be done to enhance environmental conservation?
  26. Should all citizens embrace patriotism?
  27. How have politics and history shaped today’s society?
  28. Analyze the technological mistakes made in the past decade and give new meaning to them.
  29. What has existed longer? Politics or history?
  30. Has social media helped to improve the behavior of politicians today since everyone is watched and analyzed?
  31. Have women today become too independent? What does female independence mean for society?
  32. Is democracy dead? Analyze the case of democracy in today’s society.
  33. How different were capitalism and communism?
  34. Can terrorism be stopped?
  35. What does it mean when an individual is an anarchist?
  36. How important is self-respect in the age of social media?
  37. Can cell phones aid today’s learning process?
  38. Should physical activity be compulsory in high school?
  39. How has e-commerce disrupted shopping as we know it?
  40. Define the concept of contemporary culture.
  41. What exactly is influence peddling? Is it good or bad?
  42. Can beauty be defined? What is abstract beauty?
  43. Can a marriage really work in today’s technology obsessed society?
  44. What is surrealism? Has surrealism improved art for the better?
  45. What are the differences between macro and microeconomics?
  46. Can civil rights really be enforced?
  47. Is acting the same as lying- where do you draw the line between the two concepts?
  48. How would you define the term global city?
  49. The role of e-books in today’s learning environment.
  50. Persistence is the key to all thing. Do you agree?

How to choose a topic for a definition essay

Go back to the drawing board

Perhaps you have come up with a possible topic but you, unfortunately, see no way of turning it into a comprehensive essay. If this is the case, the best thing that you can do is go back to the drawing board in order to rephrase your prompt. What you want to do is look at the manner in which you have expressed your question so that you can rephrase in a way that gives you plenty of opportunities to define what you have to define.

Find a way to re-use an old topic

To make things easier for you, try and think of an essay that you have worked on before that can be rephrased and re-used for your definition essay. If you find one, you might be able to repurpose sections of your old essay for your new one, or you might be inspired to look at a related topic with fresh eyes.

Discuss your ideas with a friend

Sometimes the problem is not coming up with an idea, but having too many options. If you are in such a dilemma, the best thing that you can do is get together with a friend or another student taking the same course so that you can bounce ideas off each other. If you find a topic that excites you, that should probably be your question for the definition essay that you need to create.

Choose a broad topic then expound on it further

The best definition essays are those that attempt to explain a broad concept that can be understood in different ways based on a person’s circumstances or the environment. For instance, the term love is supposed to mean one thing, but it has different meanings and values to different individuals. When picking your topic for your definition essay, therefore, make sure to select a topic that is broad and one that has various assigned meanings.


Choosing the right topic for a definition essay is very important because your topic choice can make or break your essay.  When selecting your preferred prompt for your definition essay, try and go for a topic that is abstract buy yet has a compound meaning so that you can expound on it.

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