Definition essay topics

Top 100 Definition Essay Topics

When you think of a definition essay, what comes to mind? For some, it might be a dry and dull assignment that is easy to forget about. But for others, writing a definition essay can provide an opportunity to explore fascinating topics in depth. To write the best possible paper, one should find something they are passionate about. This will ensure motivation and creativity throughout the entire process, from brainstorming ideas all the way through editing your final draft.

This article has a compilation of 100+ best definition essay topics that you could use as fodder for your next paper. Whether it’s religion or historical events, these are some of the most popular topics on this list that would work well for any student in need of a topic. We hope this list helps you brainstorm ideas, and we hope that once you find your topic, it will be an inspiration for the best definition essay possible.

Easy Definition Essay Topics

An easy definition essay topic is a topic for which the concept and definition are easily understood with little effort, e.g., “honesty.” This type of essay is easy to write because you can define the word quickly and then spend most of your time explaining examples or discussing contextual applications.

  • Democracy
  • Religion
  • Patriotism
  • Freedom
  • Career choice
  • Love
  • Happiness
  • Time management
  • Nature vs. Nurture
  • Success
  • The importance of music in our lives
  • What’s the difference between being a friend and being a best friend
  • Eating disorders and diseases
  • Rules in society
  • What makes someone beautiful?
  • The definition of humility
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Definition Essay Topics for High School

These topics are geared more towards high schoolers and require a bit less thinking.

  • The definition of love
  • The best TV shows of all time, ever
  • Why murder is wrong
  • How to be happy in life no matter what happens to you
  • What’s the difference between an acquaintance and a friend?
  • What’s the difference between a stranger and an acquaintance?
  • What separates teens from adults in today’s society?
  • The definition of home
  • The meaning of success, both financially and emotionally.
  • Does everyone deserve happiness no matter what their past/present is like?
  • What is equality?
  • How do you define integrity?
  • The definition of hard work
  • Is society today too materialistic?
  • What does it mean to be a good friend or a best friend?
  • Selflessness vs. self-centeredness, which is more common in our society, and why?
  • Should the government censor the media? Why or why not?

Definition Essay Topics for College

College students want something to sink their teeth into- it has to be fascinating yet factual.

  • The definition of the perfect job
  • Should religion be taught in schools? Why or why not?
  • What’s the difference between being a human and being humane?
  • How do you define leadership?
  • What is the definition of success?
  • Having a purpose in life
  • How has technology affected our everyday lives?
  • Is social media making us less human or more human?
  • Does beauty lie within, or can we define a person’s physical appearance as beautiful based on what they look like on the outside?
  • What makes someone a good role model?
  • Is what you see online real or fake life?
  • Why is it important to be healthy both physically and mentally to achieve overall happiness in life?
  • The definition of self-control.
  • What exactly is going on in the world around us?
  • What’s the difference between violence and aggression?
  • The purpose of freedom.
  • The pursuit of wealth.

Interesting Definition Essay Topics

Sometimes, people have difficulty coming up with topics for their papers- these are meant to be thought-provoking and exciting.

  • Is being an introvert or an extrovert more common in our society today? Why, why not?
  • The difference between selfishness and selflessness. Which is more common in our society today?
  • Why is it important to seek out adventure in order to achieve overall happiness in life?
  • The definition of a hero.
  • What’s the difference between a dream and a goal?
  • How does one define success in life? Is there more than one definition?
  • The meaning behind what we say in everyday life, why do certain phrases profoundly impact us?
  • Is it possible for us to ever truly know the meaning behind another person’s actions?
  • Is it possible for us to live without regret in life?
  • What’s the difference between being human and humane?
  • Would this violate their rights as robots if we were ever to create robots designed solely for sexual pleasure? Why or why not?
  • Do people put on a false persona based on their social media profiles? If so, how would this affect who they become in real life?
  • Is the internet connected to our minds as we speak, or is it just an extension of ourselves?
  • Why do we crave social interaction even though it can be exhausting at times?
  • What’s the difference between a friend and a best friend?
  • How does one define poverty?

Funny Definition Essay Topics

For some people, humor is a way to get their point across and stay organized- here are some ideas.

  • What are the best and worst things about social media?
  • Why is it that people take themselves too seriously?
  • The definition of a genius.
  • Does being “normal” really exist, or does everyone do things that set them apart from the rest?
  • If we were ever to rewind time, what age and period would we go back to see in history if we could?
  • What is fun, and why do most people have a hard time differentiating it from work?
  • What is happiness, and what does it mean to be happy in life?
  • Who are we? Do people change as they age, or do their core values stay the same regardless of how old they become?
  • Why do feelings hurt?
  • Language is a living thing. How has it evolved throughout time?
  • Why are people who enjoy discussing politics usually seen as aggressive and loud, while those who prefer not to speak about it are often viewed as ignorant and close-minded?
  • What is the difference between being alone and being lonely?
  • Does being able to live a life full of good memories count as success?
  • Despite the fact that humans are naturally social creatures, why do some people have such a hard time embracing change?
  • What makes someone a perfect stranger, and what is the difference between strangers and acquaintances.
  • The definition of happiness.

Definition Argument Essay Topics

As the name suggests, these kinds of essays are meant to help you prove a point. Rather than simply defining terms, you must argue why your definition for something is correct and back up your claims with evidence from past readings or outside sources.

  • Is there more than one meaning behind the word “education?”
  • Is it possible for the memory of a dead person to be resurrected after death through social media?
  • Which has a more significant impact on society, science, or the arts?
  • Discuss the implications of religion in modern-day society.
  • Does food affect our personalities?
  • Should people be allowed to do drugs as long as they’re not hurting anyone else? Explain your answer.
  • Who is more famous: Shakespeare or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?
  • Should schools eliminate math and science requirements to make way for more electives like writing and art classes?
  • Is the right to privacy an outdated concept in modern-day society? Explain your answer.
  • Is time travel possible, or just a fantasy?

Creative Definition Essay Topics

If you would instead write your paper on something a little more interesting, there are many creative definition topics to choose from. The main point of these kinds of essays is to tell the readers what it means for something to be so or so. If you can authentically do this, then you’ve successfully written a creative definition essay.

  • Is it possible for a war to be fought, won, and finished before it begins?
  • Does the phrase “happily ever after” have more than one meaning?
  • What’s the difference between a fairy tale and a myth?
  • Do weapons exist for better or for worse?
  • Are humans the actual monsters of our world?
  • Can robots replace human beings to improve society?
  • Who is more powerful: the mind or the body?
  • Is there a supernatural force that controls fate?
  • Is it possible to find the answers to life’s tough questions through art, or are they unknowable?

Happiness Definition Essay Topics

Of all the literary essays, writing a happiness definition essay is probably one of the easiest. After all, it’s much easier to explain what something means rather than prove why your view is correct. Although these topics may seem simple, you should still try to make your claims as interesting as possible to keep them from boring your readers to death.

  • What is happiness, and can it be bought?
  • Is there a difference between being happy and feeling good about yourself?
  • Does having good health make you automatically happy? Why or why not?
  • How would you define the term “badass?” Who are some famous people who fall into that category, and what makes them so badass?
  • Why do people seek out intense experiences to fulfill their happiness?
  • Is laughter really the best medicine?
  • What is “The Good Life?”
  • Using only one word, explain what the term “happiness” means to you.
  • Why are humans naturally drawn to happy people?
  • What is the definition of a family?
  • Is true happiness found in something that can be touched or experienced through the five senses, or does it exist in places and ideas that cannot be physically seen?

How to Choose a Good Topic for a Definition Essay

When writing a definition essay, your main purpose is to explain a certain word/ term/ event… There are several things to keep in mind when brainstorming definition essay topics.

Check if there is a definition or perceived definition for what you are going to write about.

Your definition should not be too broad or extremely specific: it needs to be just right to draw the reader’s attention and make them think on their own.

Choose a topic that you and your audience/reader are interested in.

Remember that definition essays are not going to be like a casual conversation with a friend. You will need to use formal language and give logical reasons why your definition is the correct one.

Choose definition essay topics that are current and relevant and that will hold the reader’s attention.

In many cases, it may be best to write definition essays about broad topics, such as “Happiness” or “Friendship,” rather than a specific event (e.g., the Boston Tea Party).

Try to avoid definition essay topics that are too controversial as they can quickly spark an argument. e.g., Abortion definition

Do not pick definition essay topics that have already been repeatedly written about. You should try and write about something new, or at the very least find an original way to explain what you are writing about.

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How to Structure a Definition Essay

Before you can begin writing your definition essay, you have to figure out which point of view you will use. In other words, what is your argument? There are two main types of definition essays: analytical and comparative. The former is when you provide a clear-cut thesis, whereas the latter involves comparing two things to show why they’re the same or different.

A basic definition essay outline would follow this pattern:

– Introduction-Body paragraphs- Conclusion

Introduction: The introduction paragraph of your essay should clearly state the topic and what point you plan to argue. It is also a good idea to include an attention-grabbing question that will get your reader thinking about how they feel about the subject at hand. Include a strong thesis statement that clearly reveals your opinion about the topic in question.

Body paragraphs: This is where you provide proofs that back up your thesis statement. Each paragraph should focus on one specific idea and use several examples to explain yourself without going off on any tangents or making it seem like you’re rambling. The main thing with these topics is to ensure you don’t get too caught up in the complicated details, especially if you’re writing a definition essay about topics on philosophy.

Closing paragraph: The definition essay conclusion of your paper should restate your thesis statement and explain how it is relevant to your claim.


Definition essay topics are a great way to help you think of an interesting argument or thesis. However, definition essays don’t have to be tedious and difficult. The key is finding the correct definition topic that will resonate with your audience and allow for creativity in writing without getting too caught up in complicated details. If you need some inspiration on what definition essay topics can work well for any student, this list should do the trick.

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