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Chapter 12. You Got Some 'Splaining to D... > You Could Look It Up: Definition - Pg. 139

You Got Some 'Splaining to Do, Lucy: Exposition 139 You Could Look It Up: Definition The Greek philosopher Plato defined man as "a featherless biped." When his rival, the philosopher Diogenes, heard Plato's definition, he displayed a plucked chicken and observed, "Here is Plato's man." Quick on the draw, Plato added "having broad nails" to his original definition. Plato's blunder can help us today: If your definition doesn't set the objects off from others in the same class, refine the characteristics until they do. You can tell whether a definition is valid if it's true when reversed. In Plato's case, for instance, all broad-nailed featherless bipeds are men or women (and not plucked chickens). Here are some ways to construct a definition passage or essay: Word Watch A word's history is its etymology. · List characteristics of a thing beyond what you need to just identify it.