Definition of melodrama in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈmeləˌdrämə/


1A sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions.
Example sentences
  • Greta Garbo played tragic lovers, exotic temptresses and steely heroines, anchoring many mediocre melodramas and haughty period pieces like a pro.
  • The feel of a sensational melodrama is part of its success: this is rich, indulgent, luxurious story-telling, the kind of book that you can really get your teeth into - and want to read it in one sitting.
  • Like soap operas and melodramas, Magnolia is characterized by excess.
1.1The genre of melodrama.
Example sentences
  • They imitated the Hollywood genres of comedy, melodrama, musicals and Westerns.
  • The challenges stimulated more work on genres, like melodrama, that addressed women.
  • Enduring female friendships, in various forms, have been explored in both mainstream and independent cinema over the last decade or so, predominantly through the genres of melodrama and comedy.
1.2Language, behavior, or events that resemble melodrama: what little is known of his early life is cloaked in melodrama
More example sentences
  • ‘It's meant to be’ jibes Danilo as he storms off the Westmorland Hall stage with such splendid melodrama he almost pushes conductor Wyn Davies into his illustrious players.
  • It is an old-fashioned, admirably reticent film that succeeds not through daring but by avoiding the seductions of sentimentality and melodrama.
  • Nonetheless they showed Andersen a way to write stories with unhappy endings while avoiding the sentimentality and melodrama that plague his novels.
2 historical A play interspersed with songs and orchestral music accompanying the action.
Example sentences
  • He wrote songs, operas, and operettas, pantomimes, melodramas, and in 1823, a History of Music.
  • I went reluctantly to Bingley Little Theatre's production of the Victorian melodrama with music East Lynne.
  • East Lynne is a melodrama with music telling how a woman is tricked into believing her husband is having an affair.



Pronunciation: /ˌmeləˈdrämətist/
Example sentences
  • Apart from the traditions of Italian stage farce it owes as much to silent comedy as the other films owe to the silent cinema's melodramatists.
  • The composer Zdenek Fibich - symphonist, opera composer, melodramatist, and composer of one of the most extended keyboard cycles written since Chopin - would have been l50.
  • As befits the melodramatist, the composer does not disdain ‘sensation music’.


Pronunciation: /ˌmeləˈdräməˌtīz/
Example sentences
  • Mr. Bloom's position, in love with an unfaithful wife, too well-meaning and congenial to stand up for himself, is not less poignant because Joyce refrains from melodramatizing its poignancy.
  • I don't like to melodramatise, but I'll always cherish our time together, you know, just in case.
  • By allegory and by exaggeration the gangster genre melodramatized the social Darwinism of the marketplace, rendering it for popular consumption.


Early 19th century: from French mélodrame, from Greek melos 'music' + French drame 'drama'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: mel·o·dra·ma

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