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deus ex machina

1. A god in an ancient Greek or Roman play that suddenly appears in the storyline in order to solve a problem or decide an outcome. The Latin phrase translates to "god from a machine," referring to the machinery that lowered it onto the stage. The ancient Greek play makes use of a deus ex machina in which Apollo arrives on stage to restore order among the other characters.
2. An ending in a performance or story that seems too contrived to be believable to the audience. Modern critics often pan 1980s-era television shows for the typical deus ex machina that writers often used to neatly wrap up episodes.
See also: ex

ex cathedra

With the authority that comes with one's position. This phrase is often used in reference to papal decrees deemed infallible. It is Latin for "from the chair," and can be used as both an adjective and an adverb. This is an ex cathedra statement from the pope, and the Catholic Church must abide by it. The CEO was speaking ex cathedra when he made this announcement, so we need to change our approach immediately.
See also: ex

ex gratia

A payment made as a kind gesture, not due to a legal obligation. This phrase is always used before a noun. Yes, I make ex gratia payments to my ex-wife—I want our divorce to stay amicable.
See also: ex

smooth move, Ex-Lax

Wow, what a really clumsy, ignorant, or foolish thing to do or say! (Ex-Lax is the brand name for a type of laxative, which helps promote bowel movements.) Primarily heard in US. Smooth move, Ex-Lax! Thanks to your insulting remarks, they've decided not to invest in the project! The plates all crashed to the floor as I slipped on the spilled wine, and someone in the corner of the restaurant shouted out, "Smooth move, Ex-Lax!"
See also: smooth

ex out

To draw an ex (X) or series of exes over some written word or name so as to designate its removal or need to be disregarded. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ex" and "out." A: "Why is Amy's name exed out?" B: "Because she's not coming on the field trip anymore." Just ex out all of the words that you feel need to be deleted in the next draft.
See also: ex, out


n. a former spouse or lover. My ex is in town, but we don’t talk much anymore.