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10 Types of Definition With Examples

A definition is a statement of the meaning of a word or phrase. These can be universal meanings that are broadly applicable or definitions that are specific to some context, domain or culture. The following are common types of definition with examples.

Dictionary Definitions

Dictionaries offer separate definitions for each unique meaning of a word. A universal dictionary attempts to define every known meaning of a term while an abridged dictionary defines the most common meanings.
1. Water drops that fall from the sky from condensed vapor in the atmosphere.

2. The descent of water.

3. To pour down.

4. To provide in abundance.

Intensional Definitions

Intensional definitions try to convey the meaning of a term without relying on examples or a synonym of the term itself.
A vigorous action in desperate or dramatic circumstances.

Extensional Definitions

An extensional definition lists all the objects that are included in a term.
North America is a continent that includes Greenland, Canada, the United States, Mexico and various nations in Central America and the Caribbean.

Ostensive Definitions

An ostensive definition conveys meaning by stating examples where it is mostly impossible to state all instances. These typically fail to convey the total meaning of a term but are often intuitive and easy to understand.
The state of the atmosphere at a point in time such as sunshine, rain, wind and snow.

Nominal Definition

A nominal definition tries to capture the comprehensive general meaning of a term.
Gold is a soft, yellow, heavy precious metal that is traditionally valued as a store of wealth and for use in jewelry.

Real Definition

A real definition explains what something is at the technical and precise level without necessarily capturing its general and comprehensive meaning.
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79.

Stipulative Definition

A stipulative definition gives a term a new meaning without discussing other meanings of the term. This is often used to describe the meaning of a word to a particular domain, culture, context or industry. Stipulative definitions are also used to explain new slang.
The basic units of structure in Mindcraft that make up the game's universe.

Circular Definition

A circular definition depends on the word being defined or a close synonym. These don't provide any actual information such that they are unhelpful.
The process of managing organizations.

Synonym Definition

A circular definition that uses a synonym as opposed to the word itself. Helpful only where an obscure term is an exact synonym of a common term.
A biscuit is a cookie.


A translation can resemble definitions of a term from another language. These may simply state the closest word in the target language. Where no equivalent exists in the target language, the term may have to be explained.
Aka is Japanese for red.

Shoganai [Japanese] is the sense that a situation can't be helped such that it isn't worth stressing over. For example, taxes are shoganai such that it is better to just pay and go on with your life.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about definitions.
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A few definitions of concept.


A guide to language.

Words To Describe Things

A list of words to describe things.

Things That Are Not Matter

A list of things that are not matter.


A few definitions of complementary.


A few definitions of hybrid.

Abstract Things

An overview of abstract things with examples.

Concrete Things

The definition of concrete thing with examples.

Words To Describe Literature

A vocabulary for describing literature.


A list of communication techniques.

Body Language

An overview of body language with examples.

Face To Face Communication

An overview of face-to-face communication with examples, advantages and disadvantages.

Workplace Communication

An overview of workplace communication with examples.

Corporate Communications

An overview of corporate communication with examples.

Meeting Agenda

Full examples of meeting agendas that can be used as a template.

Organizational Communication

The definition of organizational communication with examples.


The definition of activism with examples.

Communication Context

The definition of communication context with examples.
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