Synonym Chooser

How is the word melodramatic distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of melodramatic are dramatic, histrionic, and theatrical. While all these words mean "having a character or an effect like that of acted plays," melodramatic suggests an exaggerated emotionalism or an inappropriate theatricalism.

made a melodramatic plea

When is dramatic a more appropriate choice than melodramatic?

The words dramatic and melodramatic are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, dramatic applies to situations in life and literature that stir the imagination and emotions deeply.

a dramatic meeting of world leaders

When might histrionic be a better fit than melodramatic?

While the synonyms histrionic and melodramatic are close in meaning, histrionic applies to tones, gestures, and motions and suggests a deliberate affectation or staginess.

a histrionic show of grief

When can theatrical be used instead of melodramatic?

While in some cases nearly identical to melodramatic, theatrical implies a crude appeal through artificiality or exaggeration in gesture or vocal expression.

a theatrical oration

Thesaurus Entries Near melodramatic

Cite this Entry

“Melodramatic.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on melodramatic

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!