"God, a god," mid-13c. in French and Latin salutations and exclamations in English works, see Zeus. Never nativized, but it continued to appear in adopted Latin expressions such as deus absconditus "hidden god," and deus ex machina "a power, event, person, or thing that arrives conveniently to solve a difficulty (especially in a play or novel). This (1690s) is from a Modern Latin translation of Greek apo mekhanes theos, literally "the god from the machina," the name of the device by which "gods" were suspended over the stage in Greek theater, from Greek (Attic) mēkhanē "device, tool, contrivance" (see machine (n.)). The fem. is dea ex machina.
updated on January 30, 2019