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 melodramatist (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 It’s a sad family melodrama that happens to be taking place smack in the middle of a Venn diagram of overlapping crises in American culture. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "Claudia Conway's TikToks Can't Save Democracy," 8 Oct. 2020 The show set in motion a new kind of high school melodrama, one shot through with a down and dirty spirit. Lauren Mechling, Town & Country, "Beverly Hills 90210 Turns 30 This Month, But Somehow It'll Never Age," 4 Oct. 2020 The Trump-Biden showdown lacks that kind of melodrama, according to Everhart. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "President Donald Trump and Joe Biden brace for vicious match-up in first presidential debate in Cleveland," 28 Sep. 2020 Let the Astros take their bizarre melodrama elsewhere. Bruce Jenkins,, "A’s-White Sox: Out of nowhere, and quite welcome," 28 Sep. 2020 On Friday, September 4, the streaming service will premiere Away, the astronaut drama/family melodrama starring Oscar-winner Hilary Swank. Ariana Romero,, "You Have 9 New Netflix Treats To Binge Over Labor Day Weekend — Here’s What’s Worth Watching," 4 Sep. 2020 So says one astronaut to another astronaut in the season finale of Away, an expensive-looking melodrama about astronauts who almost die in every episode. Kristen Baldwin,, "Please send Away back into space: Review," 28 Aug. 2020 Ferrante has a gift, perhaps even a genius, for making great literature out of melodrama. Judith Thurman, The New Yorker, "What Brings Elena Ferrante’s Worlds to Life?," 24 Aug. 2020 The young actor seems to slip into the role of this spectacular Indian lady pilot without any melodrama. Monita Soni, al, "Gunjan Saxena is a story of courage," 17 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for melodrama

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Melodrama.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for melodrama


How to pronounce melodrama (audio)

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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