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The essay definition of this type of writing is that it explains the meaning of a term. There are terms that have definite and concrete meaning like a glass, book, or tree. When writing your definition essay, you are supposed to go beyond the obvious dictionary meaning of the word and explain the reasons why the word is referred as such in your essay. You can give the direct definition of a term, but that limits your essay to a mere clarification.
This type of paper involves writing a formal explanation of one specific word. It is important to note that this is an essay, which means you most likely cannot pick a simple term that can be described in a few words. A definition essay is meant to describe a complex term that has significant background and historical origin, and is a relatable term. This gives us room to write a definition essay about it, which would give it an accurate representation.
An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument , but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a letter , a paper , an article , a pamphlet , and a short story. Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal. Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner , humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.