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 This is an earnest, foursquare, if extremely well-made, melodrama. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "The Plot Against America," 16 Mar. 2020 The problem with the Ukraine impeachment is the melodrama. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "In Impeachment’s Obstruction Dispute, Dissembling by Both Sides," 24 Jan. 2020 That’s what makes Holloway’s language-curious writing so worth hearing: this is no simple melodrama, but a yarn about reincarnation and past sins, about foreknowledge and the stupidity of running away from your own destiny. Chris Jones,, "A Red Orchid’s new ‘Grey House’ is Chicago’s most terrifying show," 22 Oct. 2019 Yet Ricardo Pérez González’s Southern drama of entrenched social bigotries is a contrived melodrama that can’t build up any dramatic momentum without tossing in absurd plot twists. Christopher Arnott,, "Review: Long Wharf’s ‘On the Grounds of Belonging’ a gay, biracial romance set in the segregated ’50s," 18 Oct. 2019 There's no melodrama or frippery in this case-by-case analysis of crime. Rebecca Farley,, "These Podcasts Will Satisfy Your Craving For Making A Murderer," 15 June 2019 Shirley is a fairly straightforward literary melodrama; but it's infused with Decker's highly subjective style, which encourages viewers to identify with her heroines' mental illness. TheWeek, "reckons with the streaming revolution," 7 Feb. 2020 Apparently the laws of melodrama required that in order to raise up and finally tell the story of one black woman, another had to be put down. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: In Netflix’s ‘Self Made,’ an Unlikely Entrepreneur," 19 Mar. 2020 These memes reduce the grown-up, adult, uncomfortable fight their characters have to melodrama. Wired, "Marriage Story Proves Anything on Netflix Can Be a Meme Now," 10 Dec. 2019

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

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Melodrama.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 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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