Definition and background:
French comic opera that is not necessarily sung throughout. The early opera comique had spoken dialogue interspersed with songs, and was mainly comic, the later ones (those written around the late 19th century) usually had continuous music, and was not necessarily humorous (for example, Bizet's Carmen). See also [Eng.] Comic Opera; [It.] Opera Buffa; [Eng.] Ballad Opera; [Ger.] Singspiel. type of opera, often comic and with spoken dialogue, developed in 18th-century France. Used in the 19th-century to describe any opera, comic or not, with spoken dialogue.
For more information on the music term "Opera comique" check out these other resources:
Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary