While a definition essay is certainly considered an explanatory piece of writing, defining abstract terms is often quite personal and certainly subjective. While you are not trying to openly convince your reader that your definition is the absolutely correct one, you are at least subtly doing so.
It wouldn't be wise to choose a word like "cat" for a definition essay. The word, "cat" has a pretty simple meaning, so we'll have trouble writing an entire essay about it. Similarly, not many people disagree over the definition of the word "cat," which means our definition will be short and ordinary.
The main distinctive features of definition essay are as follows:
A definition essay is a writing that explains a meaning of a term. Students find a definition essay very interesting. Most of them think a definition essay will only take a few sentence and you are done. The challenge comes when one is required to choose a word to define. Some words have only one meaning while others are vast. How do you write an essay with a word that has only one meaning? It will definitely be challenging. Therefore one has to be keen in choosing the appropriate words to define.