soap opera

soap opera


: a television or radio program that has continuing stories about the daily lives and problems of a group of people

Full Definition of SOAP OPERA

a :  a serial drama performed originally on a daytime radio or television program and chiefly characterized by tangled interpersonal situations and melodramatic or sentimental treatment
b :  a series of real-life events resembling a soap opera
:  the melodrama and sentimentality characteristic of a soap opera <even cops need a little soap opera in their lives — Joseph Wambaugh>; also :  something (as a novel) having such qualities
soap–op·er·at·ic \ˈsōp-ˌä-pə-ˈra-tik\ adjective

Examples of SOAP OPERA

  1. She loves to watch daytime soap operas.
  2. <the movie started out well, but quickly devolved into improbable soap opera>

Origin of SOAP OPERA

from its sponsorship by soap manufacturers
First Known Use: 1939

Related to SOAP OPERA

soap opera

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Broadcast serial drama, characterized by a permanent cast of actors, a continuing story, tangled interpersonal situations, and a melodramatic or sentimental style. Its name derived from the soap and detergent manufacturers who originally often sponsored such programs on radio. Soap operas began in the early 1930s as 15-minute radio episodes and continued on television from the early 1950s as 30-minute and later hour-long episodes. Usually broadcast during the day and aimed at housewives, they initially focused on middle-class family life, but by the 1970s their content had expanded to include a wider variety of characters and situations and a greater degree of sexual explicitness. In the 1980s similar series began to be aired in prime-time evening hours (e.g., Dallas and Dynasty). See also Carlton E. Morse; Irna Phillips.


Next Word in the Dictionary: soap orange
Previous Word in the Dictionary: soap nut
All Words Near: soap opera

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up soap opera? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).