soap opera

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See also: soap-opera



From the soap and detergent commercials originally broadcast during the shows, which were aimed at women who were cleaning their house at the time of viewing; opera from the melodramatic character of the shows.


soap opera (countable and uncountable, plural soap operas)

  1. (countable) A radio or television serial, typically broadcast in the afternoon or evening, about the lives of melodramatic characters, which are often filled with strong emotions, highly dramatic situations and suspense.
    Synonyms: (colloquial) soap, daytime serial, (colloquial, popular among older people) story
    Coordinate term: telenovela
    • 2002, Robert C. Allen, To Be Continued...: Soap Operas Around the World, Routledge, →ISBN, page 81:
      This chapter considers the growing interest in the popular Welsh-language soap opera, Pobol Y Cwm (People of the Valley), and the extent to which discourses of Welshness and definitions of cultural and national identity contribute to the appeal and longevity of the soap.
    • 2014, Frank J. Lechner; John Boli, The Globalization Reader, John Wiley & Sons, →ISBN, page 393:
      It also followed the very successful long-running soap opera, Neighbours.
  2. (uncountable) Such serials in general.


  • German: Seifenoper (calque)


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