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, 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

This last aspect in particular can sometimes make following beauty gurus feel like following a soap opera or reality television show — one where Star is a recurring character. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "Laura Lee, Jeffree Star, and the racism scandal upending the YouTube beauty community, explained," 28 Aug. 2018 Iconic soap opera star Susan Lucci played the glamorous Erica Kane on All My Children for over 40 years. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Susan Lucci Shares Her Secrets to Looking So Good at 71," 12 July 2018 Some see the royals as a real-life fairy tale; others see them as a long-running soap opera. Autumn Brewington,, "5 myths about the British royals," 14 May 2018 Dorothy’s only vague pleasures are the vicarious thrills of her libertine friend Estelle and Estelle’s soap opera love affairs. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 But this being the royal family, many tabloids have tried to turn it all into a dramatic—and low-key sexist—soap opera plot, with Middleton and Markle unfairly pitted against each other. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kate Middleton Says She's 'Absolutely' Excited for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry," 28 Nov. 2018 Roswell Shortly before Smallville premiered in the early '00s, the WB released Roswell, which executed a fine balancing act between teenage alien soap opera and serious teen drama. Seventeen, "The 20 Greatest TV Teen Dramas of All Time," 4 Dec. 2018 The 21-year-old singer pulls up to a tiny Mexican spot in Ridgewood, Queens—the kind with plastic flowers on the tables and Spanish soap operas chattering on the TV—in a bombshell look. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Get to Know Dounia Tazi, a Fashion Nova–Loving Modern Day Bombshell," 12 Nov. 2018 But that was the case Sunday as everyone focused their attention on the Earl Thomas soap opera and Chris Carson’s breakout game following a 24-13 victory over Dallas. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks Play of the Week: Illustrating Russell Wilson’s mastery on the opening score vs. Cowboys," 25 Sep. 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

11 Jan 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


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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Spanish Central: Translation of soap opera Encyclopedia article about soap opera

Comments on soap opera

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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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