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[sis-tuh-lee, -lee] /ˈsɪs təˌli, -li/
Physiology. the normal rhythmical contraction of the heart, during which the blood in the chambers is forced onward.
Compare diastole.
Classical Prosody. the shortening of a syllable regularly long.
Origin of systole
1570-80; < Greek systolḗ a drawing up, contraction, equivalent to sy- sy- + stolḗ pressure, orig., garment, equipment, equivalent to stol- (noun derivative of stéllein to send, place) + feminine noun suffix; cf. diastole, systaltic
Related forms
presystole, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for systole
Historical Examples
  • The systole of the heart means its contraction: the diastole of the heart means its dilatation.

    William Harvey D'Arcy Powers
  • systole and diastole, the contraction and dilation of the heart and arteries.

    Essays Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • systole, diastole, swift and ever swifter goes the Axe of Samson.

    The French Revolution Thomas Carlyle
  • The ding of her husband's cash register and the click of her dangle bag mark the systole and diastole of married life.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
  • And so the bombast rolls, and one brags against the other like systole and diastole which balance each other in the same heart.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • It has been calculated that the average amount of blood thrown into the aorta at every systole of the heart is from 50 to 100 c.c.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • The maximum pressure produced by the systole of the left ventricle of the heart is known as the maximum or systolic pressure.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • The ventricle actually by measurement contains more blood than normal, and therefore throws out more blood at every systole.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • Contraction or systole is followed by a pause or diastole during which the blood flows from the veins into the auricles.

    Disease and Its Causes

    William Thomas Councilman
  • Cardiac activity was then diminished, the heart being finally arrested in systole.

    The Toxicity of Caffein William Salant
British Dictionary definitions for systole


contraction of the heart, during which blood is pumped into the aorta and the arteries that lead to the lungs Compare diastole
Derived Forms
systolic (sɪˈstɒlɪk) adjective
Word Origin
C16: via Late Latin from Greek sustolē, from sustellein to contract; see systaltic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for systole

"periodic contraction of the heart and arteries," 1570s, from Greek systole "contraction," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + stem related to stellein "to bring together, draw in; to put" (see diastole).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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systole in Medicine

systole sys·to·le (sĭs'tə-lē)
The rhythmic contraction of the heart, especially of the ventricles, by which blood is driven through the aorta and pulmonary artery after each dilation or diastole. Also called miocardia.

sys·tol'ic (sĭ-stŏl'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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systole in Science
The period during the normal beating of the heart in which the chambers of the heart, especially the ventricles, contract to force blood into the aorta and pulmonary artery. Compare diastole.

systolic adjective (sĭ-stŏl'ĭk)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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