melo·​dra·​ma | \ ˈme-lə-ˌdrä-mə How to pronounce melodrama (audio) , -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 How to pronounce melodrama (audio) , -​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 If the outlines of the plot sound like pure melodrama, that's not far off; at least a few of the movie's more outrageous threads wouldn't feel out of place in a telenovela. Leah Greenblatt,, 22 Sep. 2021 The playwright uses a 19th century melodrama by Dion Boucicault as a vehicle to explore issues of race in America today. Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2021 As RuPaul's Drag Race expands to the U.K., DragCon shines light on its mainstream success —Inside Succession's corporate melodrama with Adam McKay and Kieran Culkin Follow Fortune on Flipboard to stay up-to-date on the latest news and analysis. Hugh Hart, Fortune, 26 Sep. 2019 That Jodie Comer/Matt Damon/Adam Driver/Ben Affleck medieval melodrama opens courtesy of 20th Century Studios on October 15. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 18 Sep. 2021 What ensues is a scene that isn’t played for embarrassed laughs or garment-rending melodrama. Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2021 In one very funny scene, Linda weeps helplessly at a Paris train station as a suitor-to-be roars with laughter at her melodrama. Judy Berman, Time, 30 July 2021 More recently, beginning in 2011, Suleyman was the subject of a TV melodrama called Magnificent Century, whose 139 episodes were possibly Turkey’s most far-reaching cultural export since the tulip. Christopher De Bellaigue, The New York Review of Books, 3 Aug. 2021 Though sticking true to the show’s signature melodrama, the Max-Audrey-Aki relationship is also new territory for Gossip Girl, whose original lead characters upheld a heteronormative status quo. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for melodrama

Time Traveler

The first known use of melodrama was in 1802

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Last Updated

5 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Melodrama.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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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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