soap opera

noun

Definition of soap opera

1a : a serial drama performed originally on a daytime radio or television program and chiefly characterized by tangled interpersonal situations and melodramatic or sentimental treatment
b : a series of real-life events resembling a soap opera
2 : the melodrama and sentimentality characteristic of a soap opera even cops need a little soap opera in their lives— Joseph Wambaugh also : something (such as a novel) having such qualities

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Other Words from soap opera

soap-operatic \ ˈsōp-​ˌä-​pə-​ˈra-​tik How to pronounce soap-operatic (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for soap opera

Synonyms

corn, goo, mush, schmaltz (also schmalz), sludge, slush, sorghum

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Examples of soap opera in a Sentence

She loves to watch daytime soap operas. the movie started out well, but quickly devolved into improbable soap opera

Recent Examples on the Web

There's a reason that royal watchers often refer to the British royal family as the world's longest-running soap opera. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Prince Harry Is Reportedly 'Going All Out' to Protect Meghan Markle for This Heartbreaking Reason," 11 Dec. 2018 In 1966, the Gothic soap opera ‘‘Dark Shadows’’ premiered on ABC-TV. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 27 June 2018 With the Kawhi Leonard saga seemingly nearing an end, here’s a look at the top 10 soap operas in franchise history: 10. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Leonard soap opera not unheard of; Spurs’ 45 seasons include plenty of drama," 15 June 2018 The actor, who had been starring on Riverdale up until his passing, got his career started on soap operas Loving and Another World, but was catapulted into superstardom by his role as brooding teen hunk Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "How to Stream '90210' Right Now for a Dose of Nostalgia," 4 Mar. 2019 But as soap operas across the globe have proved over and over again, evil twins never really die. Maria Tallarico, Glamour, "9 Jane the Virgin Fan Theories That Will Keep You Up at Night," 11 Jan. 2019 But Riverdale feels more like a (highly entertaining) primetime soap opera, whereas Sabrina embraces full-blown horror without bowing to the niceties imposed by network television. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 18 Dec. 2018 The idea of LeBron James in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform would have been absurd, even for the soap opera that is the NBA, at one point not too long ago. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "How LeBron James Was Courted by the Lakers," 2 July 2018 Evil twins are a staple in soap opera storytelling. Maria Tallarico, Glamour, "9 Jane the Virgin Fan Theories That Will Keep You Up at Night," 11 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'soap opera.' 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 soap opera

1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for soap opera

from its sponsorship by soap manufacturers

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Statistics for soap opera

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for soap opera

The first known use of soap opera was in 1938

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More Definitions for soap opera

soap opera

noun

English Language Learners Definition of soap opera

: a television or radio program that has continuing stories about the daily lives and problems of a group of people

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More from Merriam-Webster on soap opera

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for soap opera

Spanish Central: Translation of soap opera

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about soap opera

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