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Mar 29, 2013
This week's theme
Loan translations

This week's words
psychological moment
running dog
potpourri
blue blood
deus ex machina

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Words to describe people
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

deus ex machina

PRONUNCIATION:
(DAY-uhs eks MAH-kuh-nuh, -nah, MAK-uh-nuh)

MEANING:
noun: An unexpected or improbable person or event that saves a seemingly hopeless situation.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin deus ex machina, deus (god) + ex (from) + machina (machine), loan translation of Greek theos apo mekhanes. Earliest documented use: 1697.

NOTES:
In ancient Greek and Roman drama, often a god was lowered onto the stage by means of a crane to help a protagonist from a hopeless situation. Well, you can say they had rather mechanical plots.

USAGE:
"Warren Buffet is the deus ex machina of the stock market, a constant background presence who could decide from his bathtub in 2011 to rescue confidence in Bank of America with bags of cash."
Dan McCrum; Relish the Lessons in Buffett Ketchup Deal; Financial Times (London, UK); Feb 15, 2013.

See more usage examples of deus ex machina in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. -William Arthur Ward, college administrator, writer (1921-1994)

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