"Smart and Final Iris" is written as a series of definitions. Definitions are statements that attempt to express the meaning of a word, word group, sign, or symbol. Tate inverts the conventional order of defining terms by first supplying the definition and then the name of the thing defined. For example, he first gives the definition of "rural paradise" in the opening stanza, writing, "Pentagon code / for end of world." This is similar to how questions and answers are formulated on the popular game show, Jeopardy.