Define It

(PDF version to download)


As the rest of the semester will be focused on, surrounded by and immersed completely in your abstract noun, we need to lay the foundation for future study.  That is the aim of this product.  You will build off of our in-class explorations of your noun and provide your readers with the culturally acceptable definitions and then use those as a jumping off point to create your own definition that is grounded in real-world examples.


For the abstract noun you choose, you need to research the following three, accepted definitions:

  • Lexical: dictionary definition, meaning of the word as it is commonly used.  Think about using for the source.
  • Practical (or stipulative): when a word is given a definition specifically for the argument in process.  This is when you would say, “Okay, we’ll say that x is whatever.”  X may not actually be that limited or even mean that at all, but “for the sake of the discussion” we will all agree to use it that way.  The Urban Dictionary is a great example of this type of definition.
  • Précising: makes the definition more specific than the dictionary definition, usually by including parameters that narrow the definition.  These are often used when vagueness is not acceptable (like in a legal document or a scientific document).  This style of definition will have a significant number of limitators and explainers.

You also needs to create your own definition of the word, backed up with research and occurrences throughout time, history and writing that support your definition.

Structure of the Paper: 

  • Definition Paragraph:  This first paragraph will also allow you to define it more precisely.  You also need to use the exact, lexical definition that you find/found.  This requires an MLA in text citation and a works cited page.  I suggest drawing your word as a jumping off point.  Also, search for quotes that contain your word to help you in your definition.
  • Multiple Examples:  You need to provide examples of this word from your life or the lives of the ones you know and the world around that match your own definition of the word.  Your own definition of the word may not be a definition that already exists.  I would suggest including a quote or three that contain your word as evidence to defend your own definition.  Also the concept map and synonyms and antonyms we looked up in class may be helpful. 
  • Wrapping it Up:  How do you end this product?  You could recap, remind of the definitions.  You could even state what the word does not mean.  You could review your illustration.  Add an additional example that was too short to write a whole paragraph about.  You could also give an example that is not your definition and say why it is not, ending with your own definition again.  Or something else entirely.
Length:  750-1000 words… DROPPED and HARD COPY BROUGHT IN with MLA citation…