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 \ adjective

Synonyms for soap opera


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

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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

Even prior to his reality TV stardom in the 2000s, Trump handled his life like a soap opera. Chris Cillizza, CNN, "This 1990 Donald Trump quote in Playboy magazine explains today perfectly," 31 May 2018 The fatal shot reverberated through the housing complex, sending Lizzie Mae Payne—who was inside her apartment watching the soap opera As the World Turns—running outside, where neighbors told her that her son had been shot. Kirsten West Savali, The Root, "Watch: Memphis Police Officer Guns Down 16-Year-Old #LarryPayne as Sanitation Strike Continues," 3 Apr. 2018 Kordo-Sysoeva reportedly had two lovers and planned to divorce her 47-year-old husband Konstantin Kordo-Sysoev, who’s well known in Russia for appearing in movies and soap operas. Fox News, "Murdered Russian Aeroflot stewardess' actor husband sentenced to 11 years in prison," 11 Apr. 2018 For months the capital has been consumed by the daily soap opera of leaks and tweets that are a hallmark of the Trump presidency. Harry Jaffe, Town & Country, "Washington D.C. Is Gripped by Comey Fever," 7 June 2017 Some of Platt’s villains, like the Scottish drug lords William Jardine and James Matheson, are worthy of soap opera. Ian Morris, New York Times, "The Opium War and the Humiliation of China," 2 July 2018 All this is unfolding more than two years into a corporate power struggle that has featured as many twists as a daytime soap opera. Joe Flint, WSJ, "Once Allies, Two Media Chiefs Go to War Over the Future of CBS," 28 May 2018 Though Trump is hardly the first president to have sensitive diplomatic entreaties fall short, his played out in full public view, like a soap opera narrated daily from the Oval Office. Author: Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "White House commitment to summit ended as spontaneously as it began," 25 May 2018 All this plays out like a second-rate soap opera, full of glaring eyes and high dudgeon. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "'Mary Shelley' is a deeply conventional movie about ragingly unconventional people," 25 May 2018

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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Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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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


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 Encyclopedia article about soap opera

Comments on soap opera

What made you want to look up soap opera? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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