soap opera


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

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 Barbra Fuller, the star of radio soap opera One Man's Family, has died. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 20 May 2024 What if the non-source music swells and bursts like the melodramatic score of a soap opera at times? Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for soap opera 

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

Word History


from its sponsorship by soap manufacturers

First Known Use

1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of soap opera was in 1938

Dictionary Entries Near soap opera

Cite this Entry

“Soap opera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

soap opera

: a radio or television drama presented in a series of continuing stories and characters and intended to appeal to the emotions

so called because the advertisers on these programs were usually soap manufacturers

More from Merriam-Webster on soap opera

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