subsystem

noun
sub·​sys·​tem | \ ˈsəb-ˌsi-stəm How to pronounce subsystem (audio) \
variants: or less commonly sub-system
plural subsystems also sub-systems

Definition of subsystem

: a system that is part of a larger system These subsystems of the climate system include the atmosphere, the oceans (both upper and deep oceans), the sea ice, the ice sheets, the land surface, and the biota.— Stephen H. Schneider Voyager 2 was the troublesome twin. Even before launch, failures in its onboard computer subsystems had to be rectified. The problems continued after liftoff as the attitude-control subsystem behaved in an unexpected fashion.— William I. McLaughlin

First Known Use of subsystem

1756, in the meaning defined above

Buying Guide

Our team at The Usage has selected the best Wi-Fi routers of 2021.

Learn More About subsystem

Time Traveler for subsystem

Time Traveler

The first known use of subsystem was in 1756

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near subsystem

subsurface tiller

subsystem

subtack

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for subsystem

Cite this Entry

“Subsystem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subsystem. Accessed 6 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on subsystem

Nglish: Translation of subsystem for Spanish Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!