Write sentence-long, paragraph-long, or extended definitions.

We routinely define new concepts, terms, activities, research methods, and research findings. Our definitions may be limited to a sentence or they may extend to whole paragraphs, passages, essays, or books.

Because definitions for words evolve over time, there are several dictionaries that track these changes, including Oxford English Dictionary, A Dictionary of American English,and A Dictionary of Americanisms.

Why Do People Write Definitions?

Creative people seek to develop new terms, concepts, and activities. A doctor might discover a biological or medical process, causing the need for a new name or concept. A scientist might discover a new chemical reaction, perhaps a particle smaller than a quark. An astronomer may discover a new star. For example, Walker Gipson is commonly credited with developing the term "cyberspace" to describe the way people become so obsessed and focused on playing video games.

Occasionally, readers will reject a writer's term, concept, or research finding. And, at times, a writer may present a humorous definition or apply a word in a new context, one that helps us look at our behavior in new ways.

Online Examples of Definitions

  1. Definitions of Information Literacy
  2. What is Internet Addiction?
  3. What is a simple definition of the laws of thermodynamics?
  4. The Basics of Usenet
  5. What is Emotional Abuse?
  6. What is Intellectual Property?