The Webster's Dictionary definition is fine, accurate, succinct, but it doesn't portray what it really means to be melodramatic. To be melodramatic, as a human being, is to be a sensitive, emotional, creative, eccentric person. Things that happen to you, in your life, are incredibly important. The tiniest little event can change your whole world and have the most dire of consequences. You can probably cry on command.
Here is a list of scenarios that would be considered melodramatic:
- Your boyfriend doesn't call you as soon as he gets off of work, so he must have found another woman and is planning on breaking up with you the first chance he gets.
- You suffer from a cough three days in a row, and you are convinced that you must have lung cancer.
- You stub your toe as you walk into the bedroom and you instantly fall onto the bed screaming "Oooh the pain! The agony!"
- The guy at the liquor store gives you too much change, and you declare that day the best day of your life.
I suppose the street meaning of the word melodramatic, can be paraphrased with the word "overly-zealous". If you take an emotion and you just run with it, milking it for everything it's worth, if you blow things way out of proportion, and if you overreact to everything that comes your way, you qualify as being melodramatic.
For an example of a melodramatic character in cinema, I would recommend Dianne Wiest's character of Helen Sinclair portrayed in Bullets Over Broadway. For an example of a melodramatic television show, I would recommend Ally McBeal. For an example of a melodramatic web character, I would recommend http://www.melodramatic.com.