Definition of deus ex machina in English:

deus ex machina

Syllabification: de·us ex ma·chi·na
Pronunciation: /ˌdāəs eks ˈmäkənə, ˌdāəs eks ˈmakənə


An unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel.
More example sentences
  • In Racine's account it is this second Iphigenia who sacrifices herself; in this way Racine avoided the deus ex machina of Diana's appearance in Euripides' tragedy.
  • And thus the too-good-to-be-true ending is not only useful flattery of the king, but also a deus ex machina so blatant the author surely wants us to disbelieve it.
  • But for the grace of the deus ex machina, Measure for Measure would have turned into King Lear.


late 17th century: modern Latin, translation of Greek theos ek mēkhanēs, 'god from the machinery'. In Greek theater, actors representing gods were suspended above the stage, the denouement of the play being brought about by their intervention.

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