- 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.
- melodramatic behavior or events.
- (in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries) a romantic dramatic composition with music interspersed.
- a play, film, etc, characterized by extravagant action and emotion
- (formerly) a romantic drama characterized by sensational incident, music, and song
- overdramatic emotion or behaviour
- a poem or part of a play or opera spoken to a musical accompaniment
n.1784 (1782 as melo drame), “a stage-play in which songs were interspersed and music accompanied the action,” from French mélodrame (18c.), from Greek melos “song” (see melody) + French drame “drama” (see drama). Meaning “a romantic and sensational dramatic piece with a happy ending” is from 1883, because this was often the form of the original melodramas. Also from French are Spanish melodrama, Italian melodramma, German melodram. Related: Melodramatize. A play or film in which the plot is often sensational and the characters may display exaggerated emotion.