Sample Definition Paragraph

As you work on your paragraph, remember that the goal of your writing is to:

  • introduce your term and your definition of that term
  • explain the context of your term
  • explain it clearly
  • give relevant examples of that explanation
  • use clear detail in the explanation and examples
  • produce a paragraph that convinces your readers that your definition is valid

Topic sentence
Wisdom is not only having an understanding of the world and its people but knowing how to apply that understanding for the benefit of all.

Major elements
1. expansion of the definition
2. examples of your definition
3. details in the examples to provide clarity

Concluding sentence
However, when that philosopher shares his knowledge and uses it to help change the way people think and act, that is wisdom.

(topic sentence) Wisdom is not only having an understanding of the world and its people but is knowing how to apply that understanding for the benefit of all. (expands upon the definition given in the topic sentence) To have wisdom, one must put self behind a greater good. When a person knows a lot of information, that person must also choose how to use his or her knowledge. It can be used solely for personal gain, or it can be used to change the lives of others. (example of the definition) When one chooses to use one’s understanding to help the community, whether large or small, that person is showing wisdom. (further explanation of the definition) There is a difference, however, between helping one’s fellow man without understanding and knowledge and helping with understanding and knowledge. In the former case, one can help and contribute to society through actions without actually changing the way people think or act. Wisdom, on the other hand, uses understanding and knowledge to effect an immediate change in condition and to encourage a community to work together to improve its own understanding and conditions. The application of wisdom educates and raises up others rather than the self. (second example of the definition) A philosopher who only contemplates the condition of the world without engaging with the people in that world does not show wisdom. Without interacting with others, a person uses his or her wisdom only for selfish purposes and hides his or her light under a bushel. (concluding sentence) However, when that philosopher shares his knowledge and uses it to help change the way people think and act, that is wisdom.