Trend Watch

Deus Ex Machina

A new film riffs on this Latin literary phrase ...


When:

Lookups spiked the week starting April 24, 2015.

Why:

The movie "Ex Machina" opened this week.

The title of the movie is Latin and means "from a machine." It's a riff on the more familiar phrase deus ex machine, which literally translates to "god from a machine."

In ancient Greek and Roman dramas, the deus ex machina was a literary - and mechanical - device. A player acting the part of a god was lowered into the action by means of a crane, usually to resolve a conflict or dilemma and so decide the final outcome of the play. We borrowed the Latin phrase into English in the late 1600s; it's still used in its dramatic sense as well as in a figurative sense to refer to anything that brings a swift and apparently contrived solution to an unsolvable problem.



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