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system

[sis-tuh m]
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noun
  1. an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole: a mountain system; a railroad system.
  2. any assemblage or set of correlated members: a system of currency; a system of shorthand characters.
  3. an ordered and comprehensive assemblage of facts, principles, doctrines, or the like in a particular field of knowledge or thought: a system of philosophy.
  4. a coordinated body of methods or a scheme or plan of procedure; organizational scheme: a system of government.
  5. any formulated, regular, or special method or plan of procedure: a system of marking, numbering, or measuring; a winning system at bridge.
  6. due method or orderly manner of arrangement or procedure: There is no system in his work.
  7. the world or universe.
  8. Astronomy.
    1. a number of heavenly bodies associated and acting together according to certain natural laws: the solar system.
    2. a hypothesis or theory of the disposition and arrangements of the heavenly bodies by which their phenomena, motions, changes, etc., are explained: the Ptolemaic system; the Copernican system.
  9. Biology.
    1. an assemblage of organs or related tissues concerned with the same function: the nervous system; the digestive system.
    2. the entire human or animal body considered as a functioning unit: an ingredient toxic to the system.
  10. one's psychological makeup, especially with reference to desires or preoccupations: to get something out of one's system.
  11. a method or scheme of classification: the Linnean system of plants.
  12. (sometimes initial capital letter) the prevailing structure or organization of society, business, or politics or of society in general; establishment (usually preceded by the): to work within the system instead of trying to change it.
  13. Geology. a major division of rocks comprising sedimentary deposits and igneous masses formed during a single geologic period.
  14. Physical Chemistry. a combination of two or more phases, as a binary system, each of which consists of one or more substances, that is attaining or is in equilibrium.
  15. Computers. a working combination of hardware, software, and data communications devices.
  16. Checkers. either of the two groups of 16 playing squares on four alternate columns.
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Origin of system

1610–20; < Late Latin systēma < Greek sýstēma whole compounded of several parts, equivalent to sy- sy- + stē- (variant stem of histánai to cause to stand; akin to Latin stāre to stand) + -ma noun suffix denoting result of action
Related formssys·tem·less, adjectivein·ter·sys·tem, adjectivesu·per·sys·tem, noun

Synonyms

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1. organization. 7. cosmos. 9b. organism.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for system

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But you can last longer if you jest keep the system in mind a little.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • They possessed a system of writing of their own which they thought vastly superior.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • This system, once invented, was developed during thousands of years.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • That system has never failed us, but, for a time, we failed the system.

  • It was charged that the system of education at Eton failed in every point.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook


British Dictionary definitions for system

system

noun
  1. a group or combination of interrelated, interdependent, or interacting elements forming a collective entity; a methodical or coordinated assemblage of parts, facts, concepts, etca system of currency; the Copernican system
  2. any scheme of classification or arrangementa chronological system
  3. a network of communications, transportation, or distribution
  4. a method or complex of methodshe has a perfect system at roulette
  5. orderliness; an ordered manner
  6. the system (often capital) society seen as an environment exploiting, restricting, and repressing individuals
  7. an organism considered as a functioning entity
  8. any of various bodily parts or structures that are anatomically or physiologically relatedthe digestive system
  9. one's physiological or psychological constitutionget it out of your system
  10. any assembly of electronic, electrical, or mechanical components with interdependent functions, usually forming a self-contained unita brake system
  11. a group of celestial bodies that are associated as a result of natural laws, esp gravitational attractionthe solar system
  12. chem a sample of matter in which there are one or more substances in one or more phasesSee also phase rule
  13. a point of view or doctrine used to interpret a branch of knowledge
  14. mineralogy one of a group of divisions into which crystals may be placed on the basis of the lengths and inclinations of their axesAlso called: crystal system
  15. geology a stratigraphical unit for the rock strata formed during a period of geological time. It can be subdivided into series
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Derived Formssystemless, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from French système, from Late Latin systēma, from Greek sustēma, from syn- + histanai to cause to stand
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 system

n.

1610s, "the whole creation, the universe," from Late Latin systema "an arrangement, system," from Greek systema "organized whole, body," from syn- "together" (see syn-) + root of histanai "cause to stand" from PIE root *sta- "to stand" (see stet). Meaning "set of correlated principles, facts, ideas, etc." first recorded 1630s. Meaning "animal body as an organized whole, sum of the vital processes in an organism" is recorded from 1680s; hence figurative phrase to get (something) out of one's system (1900). Computer sense of "group of related programs" is recorded from 1963. All systems go (1962) is from U.S. space program.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

system in Medicine

system

(sĭstəm)
n.
  1. A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.
  2. An organism or body considered as a whole, especially with regard to its vital processes or functions.
  3. A group of physiologically or anatomically complementary organs or parts.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

system in Culture

system

A group of bodily organs that have similar structures or work together to perform some function, such as the digestive system, nervous system, and respiratory system.

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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.

Idioms and Phrases with system

system

see all systems go; out of one's system.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.