Drama is highly emotional. It can happen on stage, like a performance of "Hamlet," or in a gaggle of 7th grade girls, breathlessly dissecting why so-and-so broke up with what's-her-name.

The word drama comes directly from Greek, meaning "action" or "a play." Which is no surprise, since ancient Athens was a hotbed of dramatic theater. The earliest recorded actor was a Greek named Thespis, and actors today are still called "thespians" in his honor. Drama doesn't always take place on the stage, though. You can use the word, sometimes with a roll of the eyes, to describe behavior or a reaction to a situation that appears a little overly emotional.

Definitions of drama

n a dramatic work intended for performance by actors on a stage

dramatic play, play
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Grand Guignol
a play of a macabre or horrific nature
theater of the absurd
plays stressing the irrational or illogical aspects of life, usually to show that modern life is pointless
a short play
miracle play
a medieval play representing episodes from the life of a saint or martyr
morality play
an allegorical play popular in the 15th and 16th centuries; characters personified virtues and vices
mystery play
a medieval play representing episodes from the life of Christ
Passion play
a play representing the Passion of Christ
satyr play
an ancient Greek burlesque with a chorus of satyrs
Type of:
dramatic composition, dramatic work
a play for performance on the stage or television or in a movie etc.

n the literary genre of works intended for the theater

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closet drama
drama more suitable for reading that for performing
light and humorous drama with a happy ending
drama in which the protagonist is overcome by some superior force or circumstance; excites terror or pity
black comedy
comedy that uses black humor
commedia dell'arte
Italian comedy of the 16th to 18th centuries improvised from standardized situations and stock characters
dark comedy
a comedy characterized by grim or satiric humor; a comedy having gloomy or disturbing elements
farce, farce comedy, travesty
a comedy characterized by broad satire and improbable situations
high comedy
a sophisticated comedy; often satirizing genteel society
low comedy
a comedy characterized by slapstick and burlesque
an extravagant comedy in which action is more salient than characterization
seriocomedy, tragicomedy
a comedy with serious elements or overtones
a dramatic composition involving elements of both tragedy and comedy usually with the tragic predominating
sitcom, situation comedy
a humorous drama based on situations that might arise in day-to-day life
a boisterous comedy with chases and collisions and practical jokes
Type of:
genre, literary genre, writing style
a style of expressing yourself in writing

n the quality of being arresting or highly emotional

Type of:
emotionalism, emotionality
emotional nature or quality

n an episode that is turbulent or highly emotional

dramatic event
night terror
an emotional episode (usually in young children) in which the person awakens in terror with feelings of anxiety and fear but is unable to remember any incident that might have provoked those feelings
Type of:
a happening that is distinctive in a series of related events

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