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-operatic (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 Ken Kercheval Kercheval, the actor best known for his longtime role as Texas businessman Cliff Barnes on the CBS soap opera Dallas, died on April 21. Sophie Dodd,, "Remembering the Stars We Lost in 2019," 5 Dec. 2019 Polifroni spent almost a decade on Santa Barbara and was nominated three times for the Casting Society of America's Artios Award for her work on the NBC soap opera, winning in 1990. Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter, "Pam Polifroni, Casting Director on 'Gunsmoke,' 'The Waltons' and 'Tron,' Dies at 90," 23 Nov. 2019 Judy was happiest while spending time with her family, listening to Barry Manilow songs, watching her beloved New York Yankees, and the soap opera, Days of Our Lives., "Judith A. Rodriguez," 13 Oct. 2019 Ravenswood Manor Justin Sayre’s campy mix of horror and soap opera, told in 12 stand-alone episodes over the course of six weeks. Matt Cooper, Los Angeles Times, "Theater in L.A. this week: ‘Lady Day,’ ‘Little Shop’ and more," 12 Oct. 2019 Maddison plays the role of Kirby Anders in a reboot of the 1980s soap opera, Dynasty. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Liam Hemsworth Was Spotted Holding Hands With a Mystery Girl Following Miley Cyrus Split," 11 Oct. 2019 But for all the elements of soap opera, the drama is deeply serious. The Economist, "The battle of Botswana’s big men," 29 Aug. 2019 The show joins a long legacy of telenovelas, or Spanish-speaking soap operas, beloved in the Latinx community. Lluvia Perez, Teen Vogue, "Jane the Virgin’s Impact On American Viewers and Latinx Storytelling," 1 Aug. 2019 Brazil’s prime time soap operas, called novelas, have a long tradition of setting the public debate, and sometimes effecting change, on labor conditions, drug policy and other issues. Washington Post, "In Bolsonaro’s Brazil, woke soap operas are part of the resistance," 31 July 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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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

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Soap opera.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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

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