soap opera


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 opera (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for soap opera


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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 In what quickly and unexpectedly emerged as this offseason's predominant soap opera, Watson expressed his desire to leave Houston. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Record-setting quarterback turnover a strong possibility for 2021 NFL season," 18 Feb. 2021 Thomas Hardy's novel is a 19th-century soap opera, full of unlikely twists and turns. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "7 extraordinary Carey Mulligan performances that aren't about her 'hotness'," 17 Feb. 2021 There’s really no show quite like Ryan Murphy’s blend of soap opera, fashion show, and character drama about gender-nonconforming culture in New York in the mid-‘80s. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now," 1 Feb. 2021 The story is both pleasantly seamy and inconsequential, as pat and flimsy as a mad-science soap opera. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "A Lost Orson Welles TV Pilot That’s as Groundbreaking as “Citizen Kane”," 11 Dec. 2020 Its inaccessibility kept Jalapão obscure—until the debut of O Outro Lado do Paraíso (The Other Side of Paradise), a popular 2017 soap opera that set its characters’ love triangles and land disputes in the park. Jamie Ditaranto, Travel, "The paradise in Brazil you don’t know—yet," 10 Dec. 2020 Events such as the NBA Draft, trading (which can begin Monday) and free agency, usually an entertaining summer soap opera, will be condensed into just a few weeks before training camps begin, likely in early December. oregonlive, "NBA offseason calendar kicks into high gear this week with trading, draft and free agency," 16 Nov. 2020 For the idlers at the Fleur des Îles café, who were following the situation like a soap opera, Noelline was overdoing her big moment. Andrea Lee, The New Yorker, "The Rivals," 28 Dec. 2020 Meanwhile, as is typical, the Jets have been a soap opera. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Sam Darnold returns to L.A. as part of baggage in Jets’ winless season," 19 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for soap opera

Time Traveler

The first known use of soap opera was in 1938

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Statistics for soap opera

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Soap opera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for soap opera

soap opera


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

More from Merriam-Webster on soap opera

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for soap opera Encyclopedia article about soap opera

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