A melodrama is a dramatic work in which the plot, which is typically sensational and designed to appeal strongly to the emotions, takes precedence over detailed characterization. Characters are often simply drawn, and may appear stereotyped.
In scholarly and historical musical contexts, melodramas are Victorian dramas in which orchestral music or song was used to accompany the action. The term is now also applied to stage performances without incidental music, novels, movies, and television and radio broadcasts. In modern contexts, the term “melodrama” is generally pejorative, as it suggests that the work in question lacks subtlety, character development, or both. By extension, language or behavior which resembles melodrama is often called melodramatic; this use is nearly always pejorative.
The term originated from the early 19th-century French word mélodrame. It is derived from Greek melos, μέλι, honey, melody, μελωδία, sweet song, music, and French drame, drama (from Late Latin drāma, eventually deriving from classical Greek δράμα, theatrical plot, usually of a Greek tragedy).
Of or pertaining to melodrama; like or suitable to a melodrama; unnatural in situation or action.
Exaggeratedly emotional or sentimental.
“She wrote him a melodramatic letter, threatening to kill herself.”
Dramatic to excess.