melo·​dra·​mat·​ic ˌme-lə-drə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce melodramatic (audio)
: of, relating to, or characteristic of melodrama
a luridly melodramatic script
: appealing to the emotions : sensational
the fund-raiser's desperate, melodramatic appeal for more donations
melodramatically adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for melodramatic

dramatic, theatrical, histrionic, melodramatic mean having a character or an effect like that of acted plays.

dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply.

a dramatic meeting of world leaders

theatrical implies a crude appeal through artificiality or exaggeration in gesture or vocal expression.

a theatrical oration

histrionic applies to tones, gestures, and motions and suggests a deliberate affectation or staginess.

a histrionic show of grief

melodramatic suggests an exaggerated emotionalism or an inappropriate theatricalism.

made a melodramatic plea

Examples of melodramatic in a Sentence

Oh, quit being so melodramatic!
Recent Examples on the Web There’s no need for such melodramatic visuals given the tension conjured by performances and script. Celia Wren, Washington Post, 8 Nov. 2023 Each of the 40 phenomena is accompanied by a handful of factoids and a small map to show where it was found, but prime of place goes to Adam Wolf’s satisfyingly melodramatic illustrations. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 3 Nov. 2023 The curious teenager’s question had unleashed a tsunami of insecurity about my melodramatic relationship to Spanish. Katty Huertas, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2023 Hostile in nature, the unresolved divide between them crackles with passion, a testament to the performers’ dexterity to tap into a melodramatic tone. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, 6 Oct. 2023 Yet the shaky character development, melodramatic dialogue, and mismanaged tone result in a sloppy misfire. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 5 Oct. 2023 The show was cancelled last spring, but — in a twist that could rival the soap’s melodramatic storylines — it was brought back from the dead by Amazon Freevee eight months later. K.j. Yossman, Variety, 18 Sep. 2023 The lyrics in the bridge sections are melodramatic, as the protagonist comes to realize that his love is unlikely to be ever be returned. Paul Grein, Billboard, 25 Sep. 2023 Become a Subscriber Shot entirely in high-contrast monochrome, Kokomo City brings an artful eye and a playful sound design to material that often gets more melodramatic visual treatment. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 2 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of melodramatic was in 1789

Dictionary Entries Near melodramatic

Cite this Entry

“Melodramatic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


melo·​dra·​mat·​ic ˌmel-ə-drə-ˈmat-ik How to pronounce melodramatic (audio)
: of or relating to melodrama
: resembling or suitable for melodrama : sensational
melodramatically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on melodramatic

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