opera

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Related to Opéra: opéra bouffe, opéra comique
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horse opera

A film or theatrical production about the American West (i.e., a western), especially one that is clichéd or formulaic. My grandfather and I had a tradition of watching old horse operas every Sunday on TV.
See also: horse, opera

hoss opera

A film or theatrical production about the American West (i.e., a western), especially one that is clichéd or formulaic. My grandfather and I had a tradition of watching old hoss operas every Sunday on TV.
See also: opera

oat opera

A film or theatrical production about the American West (i.e., a western), especially one that is clichéd or formulaic. My grandfather and I had a tradition of watching old oat operas every Sunday on TV.
See also: oat, opera

soap opera

1. A sentimental, melodramatic serialized program, especially for television, often panned for having shallow, unrealistic characters and storylines. The name alludes to the fact that early radio shows of this type were sponsored by soap companies. I used to roll my eyes at the soap operas my mother watched, but now I'm completely hooked on them, too. The only thing the people in my office discuss are the latest scandals in the various soap operas they all follow.
2. By extension, a situation that is so melodramatic or sensational as to be reminiscent of such a show. Why does every relationship Jeff gets into turn into a soap opera? I swear, he looks for drama like this.
See also: opera, soap

soap opera effect

An informal term for "motion smoothing" or "motion interpolation," a process by which one's TV artificially increases the frame rate of video in order to remove motion blur. As a result, some movies and TV shows have an exaggeratedly realistic visual quality more typical of videotape (the traditional filming medium for soap operas) than film. A: "Why does everything look so weird on my new TV?" B: "It's the soap opera effect. Let's see if we can turn that off."
See also: effect, opera, soap

turn into a soap opera

1. Of a television program, to become overly sentimental and melodramatic, especially characterized by shallow, unrealistic characters and storylines (like those associated with soap operas). The first season of the show was really clever, with well-written main characters. But then it just turned into a soap opera with silly side plots focused on their various romantic entanglements.
2. To cause a television program to become overly sentimental and melodramatic. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "turn" and "into." I used to love this show before the writers turned it into a soap opera. Now it's all about stoking speculation about what the next scandal will be.
3. Of a situation in real life, to become exceptionally melodramatic or sensationalistic. Why does every one of Jeff's relationships turn into a soap opera? If I didn't know better, I would think he went out of his way to find drama like this.
4. To cause a situation in real life to become exceptionally melodramatic or sensationalistic. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "turn" and "into." Look, I just want the divorce to be as quick and painless as possible. The last thing I want to do is turn it into a soap opera.
See also: opera, soap, turn
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

soap opera

1. 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.
2. 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]
See also: opera, soap
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

horse opera

n. a Western movie. (see also oater.) They’re showing a series of old horse operas at the theater tonight.
See also: horse, opera
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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