How to Write a Definition Essay in Business Studies

Writing guide
Posted on February 17, 2020

At both high school and college, you can be assigned an essay that is aimed to define a certain term. This is what we call a definition essay, i.e., an academic assignment that requires you to write your own definition of event/word/issue/phenomena. Mind that your definition must be thorough, easy to comprehend, and well supported by evidence and research.

By assigning a definition essay, your tutor evaluates your knowledge together with your ability to choose topics on your own and define certain terms in the course of Business Studies. If Business Studies is your chosen area of study, then you might frequently work on definition essay topics like “opportunity cost” or “trademark.” Definition essays in Business Studies can be written on the most various topics that you either receive as a part of the assignment instructions list or pick by yourself. You know what to do if the tutor assigns the topic. That is why we’ll talk about the situation when you face multiple choices and freedom to decide which way to go. Check the topics we’ve collected for you for a definition essay in the course of Business Studies:

  • Business Plan to Set out the Aims, Strengths, Strategies of a Business;
  • Infrastructure to Support Day-to-Day Business Activity;
  • Workplace Diversity and Its Regulation;
  • What Is Business Unethical Behavior?
  • Strategic Management and Productivity;
  • Unlimited Liability: Personal Responsibility for All the Actions in the Business Segment;
  • Shareholder as a Part of Owning Corporate Stocks;
  • Redundancies to Save the Day When Jobs no Longer Exist;
  • Fixed Costs: Costs That Don’t Change;
  • Revenue: An Integral Part of Trading Activities;
  • Crisis Management in an Organization;
  • Business Ethics: History and Psychology;
  • Venture Capitalists and Their Role in Business;
  • What Is Good Business Leadership?
  • Business Psychological Tricks;
  • Privatization in the Business Private Sector;
  • Business and Success: What Do These Terms Have in Common?
  • Recession in Severe Economic Decline;
  • Shareholder in a Startup Company;
  • Takeover in the Field of Business

Choosing a definition is a must when it comes to writing the essay of this type. Make sure you understand the term before you give the definition of it for your reader. Check the dictionary (both – online and printed), but never just copy-paste the definition. Give a brief explanation of the term in your own words. Plus, limit your term before you go on with the defining. Let’s look at a simple example with the term ‘happiness.’ One could write forever on it. In order to limit it, you would write about wither ‘pleasure,’ ‘joy,’ or ‘cheerfulness.’

How to Write a Definition Effectively?

The first step on your way to an effective definition includes creating a definition itself. Here are some of the ways to define your term:

  • Define it by function. Give an explanation of how something works or what it does.
  • Define it by analysis. Compare your term to the other terms of the same field and point out the main differences. Exactly thanks to the presence of these differences your term stands out. For instance, compare a ‘business angel’ to other types of investors, such as peer-to-peer lenders, personal investors, and venture capitalists.
    (term) (precise definition)
    For instance: Business angel is a type of investor reputed for its professionalism, commitment, and ability to provide capital for a business start-up in return for a stake in the corporation.
  • Define it by structure. Tell your readers about how something is put together or organized.
  • Define it by what your term doesn’t mean. Basically, this distinction can clarify an actual definition, as well as help your reader get a better idea of it.

Make sure to include examples, anecdotes, and facts that are easy to understand and explain your definition to the fullest. Just ask yourself, ‘What examples help my readers to better understand my term? What examples would they like? Will a short pre-story reveal the true meaning of the term?’ Erase all the examples that provide no support to your definition.

Go on with an Outline

Before you sit down and write an actual definition essay, bring together all parts of it to check the complete unit. Simply put, how exactly are you going to define the essay subject? Take into account each part that gets this engine going. Once you have brainstormed all the parts, it’s the right time to work on your outline, and then produce some paragraphs.

The outline for a definition essay is just the same as the standard five-paragraph essay. It includes an intro, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. It’s up to you to decide how many paragraphs you’d like your paper to contain – the number will depend on how many aspects you need defined. Follow the advice that Richard Brinsley Sheridan gives in The Rivals (1775): ‘Never say more than is necessary.’

Here’s the outline that may serve you well in a definition essay:

  1. Introduction Paragraph
  2. Body Paragraphs:
    • The History Paragraph
    • The Denotative Definition Paragraph (the literal and precise definition of a word)
    • The Connotative Definition Paragraph (signifying a secondary or associative meaning in addition to the primary one)
  3. Conclusion Paragraph
    • Restate your thesis statement (write it down in different words)
    • Summarize the key pieces of your evidence
    • Provide the final closing sentence

Come up with a Thesis Statement

The thesis statement identifies your Business Studies term and gives a basic and brief definition. Here’s the pattern:
(term) + (basic definition)
For instance: DSCR or debt-service coverage ratio is standing for a measurement of the cash flow that is available to pay current debt obligations.

Introduction Paragraph

An intro in a definition essay serves as a gateway to your subject. It’s your task to use your introduction paragraph in order to gently and impressively introduce the subject, and hook your reader’s attention.

Begin the opening paragraph with the ‘hook’ or ‘attention grabber.’ This will make people reading your essay curious and want to read further. Interesting facts, stats, and quotations are always a good idea. Next, give some background details that your readers will need to understand the idea or concept to be defined within the body section.

Unlike the other kinds of academic essays, like argumentative or narrative, the definition essay requires you to give the dictionary definition of the chosen word, and then provide the thesis definition. Taking into account the fact that the definitions provided in the dictionaries are usually narrow and dry, the thesis definition is your chance to encompass the word complexity accurately.

Body Paragraphs

Every paragraph you include in your middle section should be focused on a different aspect that contributes to the subject’s overall definition that you discuss in your essay.

  1. The History Paragraph
    In the case of the definition essay, the body part comprises three paragraphs (although there can be more if you wish). The first body paragraph goes about the origin of the chosen word and how this word became an integral part of the language. Feel free to talk about all possible prefixes, suffixes, or/and root words together with the evolution line of the word.
  2. The Denotative Definition Paragraph
    Focus your second body paragraph on the dictionary definition of the word, and how one can use the word in conversation and writing. For instance, the word “trade” can appear as a couple of different parts of speech (it can be a verb, a noun, etc.).
  3. The Connotative Definition Paragraph
    This body paragraph goes third and is usually the longest one. Make sure to focus it on conveying your own definition of the word. Mind that the definition should be based on two vital issues: your research and personal experience.

    Don’t be afraid to talk about things that could bond you to the high grades! Describe your word in a way that no other writer/researcher/author has. Be creative and original; describe the term as an animal or color, and be there to defend your viewpoint. Give the right examples of the word in action and keep your reader’s attention at any cost. In other words, the third paragraph in the middle part should go about communicating your own comprehension of the issue, concept, term, or idea.

Conclusion Paragraph

Just because this is the last thing that you work on and the shortest part of the definition essay doesn’t mean that the conclusion is the easiest to handle. Moreover, the better your body paragraphs are, the easier it will be to produce a memorable conclusion.


For the reason that a strong conclusion paragraph repeats the main points that you discussed in each body paragraph. If the body paragraphs clearly go one after the other, collecting the main ideas for the conclusion will be effortless. Just remember: there is no need to repeat what you’ve just said! Instead, ensure your main ideas echo in your conclusion, properly and logically summarized.

Some tutors may require students to craft the definition essay as a part of personal writing assignment. If that’s your case, it would be appropriate to also give the word about what the issue/term/concept means to you personally. Choose an example from your past or present and validate your descriptions of the term.

The Dos and Don’ts of a Definition Essay Writing in Business Studies

Check some of the do’s and don’ts to ensure to avoid the most common mistakes that your tutor is not going just to forgive and forget:
The do’s:

  • Make sure to narrow down the term/issue/phenomenon in case it is known for a wide meaning. For example, one might need to cover many pages in order to define the term ‘money’ properly; however, if you limit your definition essay topic to ‘cash flow,’ it will be easier for you to complete the task.
  • Try to provide an out-of-ordinary and unique definition.
  • Set solid transitions to merge the different parts of your definition essay together.
  • Edit and proofread to make the text look complete and errorless.
  • Read your definition essay out loud. Once you have accomplished an essay draft, make sure to read the text aloud to check how it sounds for your reader. It’s important to be 100% sure every sentence fits well and that every part of the essay is well developed. Do you detect any awkward phrases or lines? Revise and fix them.
  • You should also check for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors in the essay.

The don’ts:

  • Don’t go into details too much. However, do not write briefly. Check the word count requirements prior to writing.
  • Don’t choose the terms that are too obvious like ‘business,’ ‘administration,’ or ‘economics.’ Likewise, don’t choose the word that is too narrow such as ‘FTSE 100 index,’ ‘interim profit statement,’ or ‘operating expenditure.’

If you’re enrolled in a business school, then definition essay writing assignments in Business Studies are now news for you. However, with trusted sources in the business area and some easy to use tips, you can get the desired inspiration and fresh strategic ideas that will help you move on with your writing and get the highest rating from your tutor.

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