melo·​dra·​ma ˈme-lə-ˌdrä-mə How to pronounce melodrama (audio)
: a work (such as a movie or play) characterized by extravagant theatricality and by the predominance of plot and physical action over characterization
an actor with a flair for melodrama
: the genre (see genre sense 1) of dramatic literature constituted by such works
: something resembling a melodrama especially in having a sensational or theatrical quality
The trial turned into a melodrama.
melodramatist noun

Examples of melodrama in a Sentence

Critics dismissed his work as melodrama. an actor with a talent for melodrama She is starring in another melodrama. The trial turned into a melodrama. a life full of melodrama
Recent Examples on the Web The homage to ‘50s technicolor melodramas chronicles Pearl as a farmer’s daughter during the Spanish Flu pandemic. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 July 2024 In between was Pearl, also released in 2022, a prequel set in the 1910s that evoked Douglas Sirk’s classic melodramas amid scenes of pitchfork murder presented in bright Technicolor. David Sims, The Atlantic, 2 July 2024 To many, the ensuing legal extravaganza, culminating in Simpson being found not guilty, would be the first real-world reality-TV show — a serial melodrama that would consume the country for over a year. David Friend, Washington Post, 27 June 2024 Pearl rewound the clock to 1918 to revisit the farmer’s wife — back when youth and beauty were on her side and her dreams of stardom still intact — mixing the lush style of a midcentury melodrama with that of Technicolor musicals. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for melodrama 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'melodrama.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


modification of French mélodrame, from Greek melos song + French drame drama, from Late Latin drama

First Known Use

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of melodrama was in 1802

Dictionary Entries Near melodrama

Cite this Entry

“Melodrama.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


melo·​dra·​ma ˈmel-ə-ˌdräm-ə How to pronounce melodrama (audio)
: a work (as a movie or play) marked by the exaggerated emotions of the characters and the importance of action and plot
: such works as a group
: melodramatic events or behavior
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!