[ek-oh-sis-tuh m, ee-koh-]

noun Ecology.

a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.
any system or network of interconnecting and interacting parts, as in a business: The success of Apple’s ecosystem depends on hardware/software integration. Manufacturers, retailers, and customers are all part of the automotive industry’s ecosystem.

Origin of ecosystem

First recorded in 1930–35; eco- + system
Can be confusedbiosphere ecology ecosystem environment habitat Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ecosystem

Contemporary Examples of ecosystem

Historical Examples of ecosystem

  • Often little or no data are available to indicate the previous state of the ecosystem or the rate of degradation.


    A. S. Walker

  • In these marginal areas, human activity may stress the ecosystem beyond its tolerance limit, resulting in degradation of the land.


    A. S. Walker

  • Familiarity with the biological components of an ecosystem is essential to meaningful radiobiological assessment.

British Dictionary definitions for ecosystem



ecology a system involving the interactions between a community of living organisms in a particular area and its nonliving environment

Word Origin for ecosystem

C20: from eco (logy) + system
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

Word Origin and History for ecosystem

1935; see eco- + system. Perhaps coined by English ecologist Sir Arthur George Tansley (1871-1955).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for ecosystem


kō-sĭs′təm, ĕkō-]


An ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for ecosystem



A community of organisms together with their physical environment, viewed as a system of interacting and interdependent relationships and including such processes as the flow of energy through trophic levels and the cycling of chemical elements and compounds through living and nonliving components of the system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for ecosystem


[(ee-koh-sis-tuhm, ek-oh-sis-tuhm)]

A collection of living things and the environment in which they live. For example, a prairie ecosystem includes coyotes, the rabbits on which they feed, and the grasses that feed the rabbits.


Chemical substances move through ecosystems on the Earth in cycles (see carbon cycle).


The source of energy for almost every ecosystem on Earth is the sun.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.