definition paragraphs

A definition paragraph is a paragraph explaining a term or subject, so your audience comprehends the topic of the paragraph. This can be done in three different ways: Synonym, Class, and Negation.


Synonym is explaining the term by using the words that mean the same thing.

EXAMPLE: To procrastinate is to slack.


Class is when you put your topic in a larger category to explain your term.

EXAMPLE: A pineapple is a tropical fruit that has an acidic and sweet taste.


Negation means that the write first says something is not, and then says what it is.

EXAMPLE: A snowcone is not an ice creamcone, but rather a shredded ice and syrup treat.

Here are some examples:



An amtrack is not a boat; however, it is a military vehicle that moves on the ocean as well as on land. It’s an armored vehicle that weighs twenty-six tons. An amtrack’s job is to carry troops from ships off shore onto the beach in an amphibious assault. It’s made out of aluminum, with steel suspension. It has a tracked suspension, much like a bulldozer. Its front end slopes upward toward the headlights in an effort to give it greater ground clearance. It’s propelled on land by its tracked suspension; however, in the water it uses two water jets. It has a turret that holds a fifty caliber machine gun, and a forty millimeter, fully automatic, grenade launcher. It has a ramp on the back that can be raised or lowered for the easy loading and unloading of troops. There is a door built into this ramp so that when the ramp is up, people can still get in and out through the back. It has three hatches behind the turret that can be opened to allow the dropping of supplies into the vehicle, or to allow embarked infantry a means of looking out. The driver looks out of a hatch on the front left side of the vehicle, while the troop commander sits just behind him. The vehicle commander, sits in the turret of the vehicle, and mans the machine guns. The amtrack is fully amphibious.

~© 2005 Kristian Anderson~

Another example:



A racist can be defined as a prejudiced person who discriminates because of another individuals outer appearance or race. Racism can all start as a child being raised with negative thoughts, or can be brought upon by personal reasons. For example, growing up in a racist family will give adolescent awful thoughts about a race without even experiencing how they really feel first hand. A different example of how one might unfortunately choose to be racist would be if a person visits a country, and a negative event took place; this person might become racist toward a group of people that lived there all because of one personal event that happened. This is not a type of person that treats people like how they want to treated, but it is a form of hatred toward a set of people. This kind of person might use mental abuse, or they can even get physically abusive toward the kind of race they are discriminate towards. They also can have a type of attitude that thinks that they are better than certain groups and cultures. Racism is a negative concept that put down people for no real reason. Racism is a form of ignorance and inequity and only one could wish for this discrimination to stop all together in order for everybody to get along.

~© 2005 Fallon Fauque~

Deja vu

Deja vu is a French word meaning "already seen", it has also been described as a feeling or experience that one has seen or done something before. For example, you are waiting in line to check out at the grocery store and the lady behind you asks you to hand her a pack of gum. Suddenly you get an overwhelming feeling that you have been there in that exact same spot, talking to the same lady, even the same brand of gum. Even though everything seems so familiar you know there is no way that could have happened before. There are many theories as to why and how this phenomenon happens. One theory is that deja vu is connected with temporal-lobe epilepsy, but people without a history of epilepsy have also experienced deja vu. Psychiatrists believe it is something in your brain that confuses an event that happened in the past with the present. Another theory is parapsychologist think it is connected with past life experiences. Whether deja vu is an experience of the paranormal or simply some confusion in the brain, it is a perplexing feeling of having "already seen."

~Copyright 2005 Courtney Ming~


A racist is not some one that accepts another person for who they are, but rather pre judges them based on their appearance or their skin color. The vast diversity of society makes it nearly impossible to eliminate all racial tension. A racist usually has no other reason to hate somebody except for the fact that the other person may look different or have a different skin color than them. In the long run, racists are only hurting themselves because they are limiting their knowledge of different cultures and people and they are not broadening their horizons. Racists are extremely closed minded individuals and they strictly adhere to their own set of beliefs and morals without any regard for other people's belief systems. Racists are too selfish and not open minded enough to accept people for the way they are.

~Copyright 2005 Mike Sullivan~


E-mail is not something you can hold in your hand, send in the mail, and a stamp is not needed to send it. E-mail is simply mail put into digital form and sent to its recipient through the Internet. Because of the technological advances of societ, mail has been turned into something computer made that can be sent anyplace, anytime, as long as there is an Internet connection. For instance, a person does not have to wait until the post office is open to send an important letter or message, all they have to do is simply get on to the Internet and come up with a draft and hit the send button. Also the person looking to send the mail does not have to pay for the sometimes expensive postage price, but rather the monthly cost of Internet access. Because of the development of E-mail, people can send messages without hassle and in a timely fashion. E-mail also helps businesses communicate throughout their company simply with the push of a button. As time goes on, e-mail will advance while while physical mailing will slowing be turned into something of the past.

~Copyright 2005 Zach Younggren


The Cuban

A Cuban is not only a person with origins in Cuba, but also a favorite lunch specialty of Tampa, Florida. A Cuban is not like a regular sandwich, poor boy, grinder, or submarine. It is special and unique because of the massive Cuban population in Tampa, and the resulting abundance of restaurants that offer their wonderful cuisine. Other parts of Florida offer a version of a Cuban, but the intense flavors and homemade style of Tampa's Cuban truly cannot be duplicated. The sandwich starts with a long, slightly sweet narrow roll made on the premises. The roll is sliced lengthwise and piled high with pulled pork from a freshly roasted pig. The pig starts roasting the night before it is to be used. It cooks slowly over an open pit all night long to preserve its rich, juicy texture. The pork is pulled by hand with two large forks as soon as you place your order. The pork and bread is drenched in a sauce made from onions, garlic, oil and vinegar. Then, Swiss cheese is added right on top of the pork and sauce. What makes this sandwich different from others of its kind (besides the freshness of every ingredient) is the sandwich press. The sandwich press looks like a dry cleaners’ ironing press. The sandwich is placed in the middle of the press and “pressed” until the cheese is melted, the roll is crusty and the sandwich is somewhat flattened and sealed. It is truly a unique sandwich. In some of the better Cuban sandwich shops in Tampa, the line of people waiting can be stretched outside the door and around the corner. Sometimes the wait can be up to an hour, but it is well worth the wait. I cannot imagine doing that at a “Subway” shop. The meat in those franchised shops is “pulled” from a vacuum-sealed package; slightly slimy and slightly shiny. The lettuce is brown, and the tomatoes are soggy. It is anyone’s guess how old any of the ingredients are. I prefer an original.

~Copyright 2005 Kelly Cofske~