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Definition Essay Topics: 24 Unique Examples To Consider


The definition essay is a kind of writing assignment that asks students to simply and clearly explain what a specific term or phrase means. Some terms have what many would consider concrete definitions – such as tree, book, or table; other terms are much more abstract and really depend on a person’s view point – such as love, honor, or honesty. Here are 24 unique definition essay topics worth considering:

  1. Honor – What does it mean to have honor across different contexts? (E.g., patriotically, ethnically, socially, etc.)
  2. Kindness – How is kindness defined by society? How is kindness viewed across different cultures?
  3. Gumption – What does it mean to have gumption in today’s world? Is it really gumption when initiative is expected to find success?
  4. Self-assurance – What is the difference between self-assurance and cocksureness? Are the both essentially the same thing?
  5. Confidence – How do different examples of confidence come across to people in a position to judge personal character through observation?
  6. Sensitivity – How is the meaning of sensitivity clouded by what may or not be going on to a person internally? What is considered too-sensitive?
  7. Dedication – What’s the major difference between dedication and commitment? Does one indicate the concept of loyalty more than the other?
  8. Loyalty – What does it mean to be loyal today? Does it simply mean to support unconditionally or to be critical if necessary?
  9. Success – What defines success in today’s world? Is it tied to monetary gains and if so can it be said that the majority of the world is unsuccessful?
  10. Good coaching – In sports, what defines the characteristics of good coaching? Does it mean team or individual success?
  11. Intelligence – What does it mean to be intelligent today? Does simply having knowledge mean one is intelligent?
  12. Bad roommate – The fact that people are unique from one another and there can be endless perspectives on just about anything, what constitutes a bad roommate?
  13. Bad relationship – What separates a bad relationship from a good one? Can one’s perspective on this definition change without the characteristics of the relationship changing at all?
  14. Fatherhood – Is fatherhood different from being a parent? Is it a question of biology or action?
  15. Citizenship – What does it mean to have citizenship within a nation? What about concepts like dual citizenship? Is it just a means to establish legality?
  16. Honesty – What does it mean to be honest today? Is refraining from revealing information when not required a form of honesty?
  17. Friendship – What exactly is friendship? Is it merely having a close acquaintance or is there more to the idea that goes beyond knowing someone?
  18. Betrayal – What do most people consider to be a form of betrayal? Are there different scales of severity or it is such a vague concept that any act against one’s expectations can be considered a form of it?
  19. Sexism – How has the definition of sexism changed over the last half century in different parts of the world?
  20. Physical fitness – What does it mean to be physically fit? Do you think society plays a major role on how the definition of this term remains loose?
  21. Sophistication – Describe sophistication across different situations where a group of people interact?
  22. Thrifty – How is thrifty different from being cheap? Does one carry a more negative connotation than the other?
  23. Heroism – What defines a hero? Are there certain acts that demand more attention and credit as heroic acts?
  24. Vanity – Though this is a quality that is often thought of as a negative, do more people have it than are aware of in considering its full definition?

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