[ mel-uh-drah-muh, -dram-uh ]
See synonyms for melodrama on
  1. a dramatic form that does not observe the laws of cause and effect and that exaggerates emotion and emphasizes plot or action at the expense of characterization.

  2. melodramatic behavior or events.

  1. (in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries) a romantic dramatic composition with music interspersed.

Origin of melodrama

1800–10; <French mélodrame, equivalent to mélo- (<Greek mélos song) + dramedrama

Other words from melodrama

  • mel·o·dram·a·tist [mel-uh-dram-uh-tist, -drah-muh-], /ˌmɛl əˈdræm ə tɪst, -ˈdrɑ mə-/, noun
  • min·i·mel·o·dra·ma, noun

Words Nearby melodrama Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use melodrama in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for melodrama


/ (ˈmɛləˌdrɑːmə) /

  1. a play, film, etc, characterized by extravagant action and emotion

  2. (formerly) a romantic drama characterized by sensational incident, music, and song

  1. overdramatic emotion or behaviour

  2. a poem or part of a play or opera spoken to a musical accompaniment

Origin of melodrama

C19: from French mélodrame, from Greek melos song + drame drama

Derived forms of melodrama

  • melodramatist (ˌmɛləˈdræmətɪst), noun
  • melodramatic (ˌmɛlədrəˈmætɪk), adjective
  • melodramatics, pl n
  • melodramatically, adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for melodrama


A play or film in which the plot is often sensational and the characters may display exaggerated emotion.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.