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


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

Months before shooting began on Yesterday, the director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) presented a wish list of Beatles songs to his star, Himesh Patel, an actor best known for his work on the British soap opera EastEnders. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "How Yesterday Builds the Sound of the Beatles, Without the Beatles," 27 June 2019 Siri is the daughter of soap opera star Mark Pinter. Marie Milano, Country Living, "How Carson Daly and His Wife Siri Have Stuck Together in the Good Times and the Bad," 16 June 2019 As part of a broader YA trend of culturally specific fantasies, Wicked Fox weaves ancient Korean lore with the bustle of modern-day Seoul — and sets it all to the pace of a soap opera. Elena Nicolaou,, "Move Over, Vampires — There's A New Mythological Creature In YA Fiction & She Is Foxy," 25 June 2019 When the sisters discover their assumed-to-be-dead mom (a hilarious Judith Light) is alive and flourishing on a soap opera, the past meets up with the present. Randy Myers, The Mercury News, "Frameline 2019: Here’s what to see at SF’s LGBTQ film fest," 18 June 2019 Brandon's also had several small roles, like a part as a frat guy in the soap opera, General Hospital. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "Get To Know the Cast of "Trinkets" And Their Characters," 17 June 2019 Starting out in soap operas, the actress received her first big break in 2017’s Spider Man: Homecoming, followed by Spike Lee’s Oscar-winning, BlacKkKlansman. Nandi Howard, Essence, "We’re Rounding Up Actress Laura Harrier's Best Red Carpet Looks," 11 June 2019 Stories that promote surprise over character end up as mere soap opera, a series of sensational shocks. J.b., The Economist, "Why spoilers are ruining storytelling," 7 June 2019 The 46th Daytime Emmys ceremony will honor people and programs airing between 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. (a.k.a. soap operas and daytime talk shows). Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How to Watch and Stream the 2019 Daytime Emmys Red Carpet and Ceremony," 4 May 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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Statistics for soap opera

Last Updated

12 Jul 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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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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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