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soap opera

[op-er-uh, op-ruh] /ˈɒp ər ə, ˈɒp rə/
a radio or television series depicting the interconnected lives of many characters often in a sentimental, melodramatic way.
Origin of soap opera
1935-40, Americanism; so called because soap manufacturers were among the original sponsors of such programs Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for soap opera
  • Many families have drama and cats play an important role in keeping the soap opera kind of drama flowing.
  • But the book contained cyphers, and that does not seem to involve a soap opera with returning lovers, but something else.
  • The story of her ascent rivals a modern-day soap opera.
  • Well, it is getting a lot more soapy soap opera than the first season.
  • For those who haven't been following this monthly soap opera, let me elaborate.
  • The layers of memory only reinforce the soap opera, with the backstory fleshing out the characters currently on screen.
  • Diamond's overdetermined script tacks between soap opera and symposium, with intriguing morsels of each.
  • In the last five years there have been many investigations of soap opera.
  • In fact, the performance on the field has been drowned out by the soap opera that now surrounds it.
  • Through the ongoing family soap opera, music has been the tie that binds.
British Dictionary definitions for soap opera

soap opera

a serialized drama, usually dealing with domestic themes and characterized by sentimentality, broadcast on radio or television
Word Origin
C20: so called because manufacturers of soap were typical sponsors
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
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Word Origin and History for soap opera

"melodramatic radio serial" (later extended to television), 1939; so-called because sponsors often were soap manufacturers, from earlier horse opera "a Western" (1927). Shortened form soap for this first attested 1943.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for soap opera



The attitude from which one orates, pontificates, counsels urgently, etc: Be careful or she'll get on the old soapbox and preach about fiscal iniquity (1907+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with soap opera

soap opera

A radio or television serial with stock characters in domestic dramas that are noted for being sentimental and melodramatic. For example, She just watches soap operas all day long. This term originated in the mid-1930s and was so called because the sponsors of the earliest such radio shows were often soap manufacturers.
Real-life situation resembling one that might occur in a soap opera, as in She just goes on and on about her various medical and family problems, one long soap opera. [ 1940s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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