technical definition n.
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TECHNICAL DEFINITION . EXPLAINING TERMS TO YOUR AUDIENCE. Introduction. Definition and purpose Types and locations of definitions Format for definitions Topic handout Professional example Slang definition exercise. Definition and Purpose . Definition :

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technical definition



  • Definition and purpose
  • Types and locations of definitions
  • Format for definitions
  • Topic handout
  • Professional example
  • Slang definition exercise
definition and purpose
Definition and Purpose
  • Definition :
    • Explains the meaning or denotation of an unfamiliar word or phrase
    • Acts as entire focus of a report, or clarification of an object, process, or concept in a larger report.
types of definitions
Types of Definitions
  • Parenthetical: a word or phrase definition immediately following the term
    • Ex. Summit Books announced its intention to create a new colophon (emblem or trademark).
  • Form: definition may appear in parentheses, in a phrase, or in a dependent clause
    • Ex. People often choose to have roofs of slate, the compact, fine-grained metamorphic rock formed from shale or volcanic ash.
types of definitions 2
Types of Definitions 2
  • Sentence: term to be defined, the class the term belongs to, the features that distinguish the term from other members of that class.
    • Term
      • Brief
    • Class: category term belongs to
      • Legal document
    • Distinguishing features: differences between term and other terms in that category
      • All facts and points of law pertinent to a case

Ex. A brief is a legal document that contains all the facts and points of law pertinent to a case.

types of definitions 3
Types of Definitions 3
  • Expanded/extended:
    • A fully detailed definition that gives the audience a complete picture of the term being defined
    • Formal sentence definition plus support from expansion techniques appropriate to the report’s purpose to teach readers an entire concept rather than just a meaning.
locations of definitions
Locations of Definitions
  • In the text: for reports without glossaries and for audiences who need information immediately
  • In footnotes/endnotes: for definitions whose inclusion would disrupt the flow of the report
  • In a glossary: for reports that have 5 or more terms to define
format for expanded definitions
Format for Expanded Definitions
  • Headings for each section
  • Sections:
    • Audience/purpose
    • Introduction
    • Expansion techniques (3 minimum)
    • Conclusion (optional)
format for expanded definitions 2
Format for Expanded Definitions 2
  • Audience/purpose
    • 1-2 sentence explanation of audience’s identity and reason for presenting them with this report
  • Introduction
    • Sentence definition + background information or first expansion technique
format for expanded definitions 3
Format for Expanded Definitions 3
  • Expansion techniques
    • Etymology: origin/history of term
    • List of parts: discussion of all parts of term
    • Graphics: picture or diagram of term
    • Example: explanation of term’s uses
    • Operating principle: explanation of how term works
format for expanded definitions 4
Format for Expanded Definitions 4
  • Expansion techniques
    • Process: directions for using the term
    • Comparison/contrast: examining term that is similar and familiar to audience
    • Classification: discussion of category that term belongs to
    • Negation: explanation of what term is not
topic handout
Topic Handout
  • Guidelines
slang definition exercise
Slang Definition Exercise
  • Definition Exercise Instructions
  • Send exercise to me via the Blackboard Discussion Board.