Deus Ex Machina Definition

dāəs ĕks mäkə-nə, -nä, măkə-nə
In ancient Greek and Roman plays, a deity brought in by stage machinery to intervene in the action.
Webster's New World
Any unconvincing character or event brought artificially into the plot of a story or drama to settle an involved situation.
Webster's New World
A person or event that provides a sudden and unexpected solution to a difficulty.
American Heritage
Any resolution to a story that does not pay due regard to the story's internal logic and that is so unlikely that it challenges suspension of disbelief, and presumably allows the author, director, or developer to end the story in the way that he or she desired.
Oh, now I'm backed into a corner, and can't devise a way out. I could sure use a deus ex machina right about now!

Other Word Forms of Deus Ex Machina


deus ex machina
dei-ex-machina, dei-ex-machinis, di-ex-machina, dii-ex-machina, deus ex machinas

Origin of Deus Ex Machina

  • New Latin deus ex māchinā Latin deus god dyeu- in Indo-European roots Latin ex from eghs in Indo-European roots Latin māchinā ablative of māchina machine machine (Translation of Greek theos apo mēkhanēs)

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin deus ex māchinā, from deus (“a god”) + ex (“from”) + machina (“a device, a scaffolding, an artifice”), a calque of Ancient Greek ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός (apò mêkhanễs theós).

    From Wiktionary

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deus ex machina