A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

Joe Moxley, Founder, WritingCommons.org

Joe Moxley


Dear Colleagues and Students,

At Writing Commons, we are happy with the overall success of our project. Since 2011, when we launched at WritingCommons.org, we have hosted 6,315,882 users who have reviewed over 11 million pages. We are thrilled that students and faculty find our site to be helpful. Our ongoing mission is to be the best writing textbook possible. We also happen to be free. While we cannot perhaps claim yet that we are the best possible textbook for technical writing or creative writing courses, we are working on that.

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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?


Cassandra Branham, Editor-in-Chief WritingCommons.org

Cassandra Branham


Dear Colleagues and Students,

Welcome to Writing Commons, an open-education resource for instructors and students of writing across the disciplines. Our mission is to provide a high-quality, cost free resource to support students in the development of writing, research, and critical thinking practices.

This summer, we have been working on a site redesign in an effort to increase the usability of our site for both instructors and students. Our most significant change has been the inclusion of additional categories and subcategories to create a more intuitive hierarchy within the site.

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