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deus ex machina

[dey-uh s eks mah-kuh-nuh, dee-uh s eks mak-uh-nuh] /ˈdeɪ əs ɛks ˈmɑ kə nə, ˈdi əs ɛks ˈmæk ə nə/
(in ancient Greek and Roman drama) a god introduced into a play to resolve the entanglements of the plot.
any artificial or improbable device resolving the difficulties of a plot.
Origin of deus ex machina
1690-1700; < New Latin literally, god from a machine (i.e., stage machinery from which a deity's statue was lowered), as translation of Greek apò mēchanês theós (Demosthenes), theòs ek mēchanês (Menander), etc. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for deus ex machina
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nor do we behold a deus ex machina who is certain to do all that is mild and just.

    A Miscellany of Men G. K. Chesterton
  • But there was always a deus ex machina for us when we were in trouble.

    Our Hundred Days in Europe Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • This bigot who had once been the means of his undoing, was to be the deus ex machina.

    Satan Sanderson

    Hallie Erminie Rives
  • But this would be deus ex machina, as much as in the system of occasional causes.

    Theodicy G. W. Leibniz
  • It is from this that the well-known phrase "deus ex machina" has its origin.

    A History of Pantomime

    R. J. Broadbent
  • He was a deus ex machina to me—I quite jumped at him, I assure you!

    The Palace of Darkened Windows Mary Hastings Bradley
  • Ann had been the deus ex machina of the house since Christa's babyhood.

    The Zeit-Geist Lily Dougall
British Dictionary definitions for deus ex machina

deus ex machina

/ˈdeɪʊs ɛks ˈmækɪnə/
(in ancient Greek and Roman drama) a god introduced into a play to resolve the plot
any unlikely or artificial device serving this purpose
Word Origin
literally: god out of a machine, translating Greek theos ek mēkhanēs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deus ex machina

1690s, from Modern Latin translation of Greek theos ek mekhanes, literally "the god from the machina," the device by which "gods" were suspended over the stage in Greek theater (see machine). The fem. is dea ex machina.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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