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deus ex machina

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noun de·us ex ma·chi·na \ˈdā-əs-ˌeks-ˈmä-ki-nə, -ˈma-, -ˌnä; -mə-ˈshē-nə\

Simple Definition of deus ex machina

  • : a character or thing that suddenly enters the story in a novel, play, movie, etc., and solves a problem that had previously seemed impossible to solve

Full Definition of deus ex machina

  1. 1 :  a god introduced by means of a crane in ancient Greek and Roman drama to decide the final outcome

  2. 2 :  a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty

Origin of deus ex machina

New Latin, a god from a machine, translation of Greek theos ek mēchanēs


First Known Use: 1697


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