melo·​dra·​ma | \ˈme-lə-ˌdrä-mə, -ˌdra-\

Definition of melodrama 

1a : 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

b : the genre (see genre sense 1) of dramatic literature constituted by such works

2 : something resembling a melodrama especially in having a sensational or theatrical quality The trial turned into a melodrama.

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Other Words from melodrama

melodramatist \ ˌme-​lə-​ˈdra-​mə-​tist , -​ˈdrä-​ \ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

The performances from the older Crain children are wonderfully restrained, lending a sense of gravitas without letting the show veer too far into melodrama. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Netflix’s Haunting of Hill House is like This Is Us wrapped in a gothic ghost story," 28 Sep. 2018 That caused the series to occasionally spin its wheels or descend into unmotivated melodrama. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "The Affair’s latest, greatest episode holds a difficult irony at its core," 19 Aug. 2018 Featuring melodramas, shoot-outs, music, butter-churning, ice cream making, Dutch oven cooking, games, gold panning. Michelle Jenkins, idahostatesman, "Big July Calendar: Month is lit with fireworks, comic con and the Canyon County Fair," 28 June 2018 The melodrama of Rachel [Reilly] and Brendon [Villegas] and the many moments that made up their relationship. Brian Porreca, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Big Brother' Bosses Preview New Twists in Season 20," 27 June 2018 There’s a distinct lack of melodrama or confessional detail, the self-pity or regret that accompany a broken romance or a broken life. Greg Kot,, "Neko Case stomps the terra with the powerful ‘Hell-On’," 1 June 2018 The stage is set for a courtroom melodrama crawling with straw-man atheists, pseudo-introspective laments and specious arguments concerning the separation of church and state. Justin Chang,, "A Christian critic wrestles with new biblical films and the hope of a better 'faith-based' cinema," 30 Mar. 2018 In an era when so many indies are either genre exercises or quirky dramedies, a well-acted, ripped-from-the-headlines melodrama is a novelty. Noel Murray,, "Sex-tinged melodrama 'Affairs of State' mirrors real politics," 14 June 2018 Beginning as one thing and ending as quite another, this softly lighted melodrama follows Thomas (Tim Kalkhof), a reserved German pastry chef with a cozy cafe in Berlin and a handsome Israeli lover, Oren (Roy Miller). Ofir Raul Graizer, New York Times, "Review: A German ‘Cakemaker’ and an Israeli Widow Share Loss and Cookies," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'melodrama.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of melodrama

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for melodrama

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

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Statistics for melodrama

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for melodrama

The first known use of melodrama was in 1802

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More Definitions for melodrama



English Language Learners Definition of melodrama

: drama in which many exciting events happen and the characters have very strong or exaggerated emotions

: a situation or series of events in which people have very strong or exaggerated emotions

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Comments on melodrama

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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