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

Examples of subsystem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But incremental gains were made, and after five months of steady trial and error, the team found that Voyager 1’s problem lay in its flight data subsystem (FDS), which packages earthbound data. Christian Thorsberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 June 2024 This transfer module is scheduled to be jettisoned from the rest of the stack in October 2025, and after that the remaining Mercury approach and orbit insertion maneuvers will be carried out with the chemical propulsion subsystem of the European MPO spacecraft. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 16 May 2024 The marvel of the IPX system was the keyboard subsystem, which enabled operators to enter a theoretical maximum of 19,200 Chinese characters despite its modest size: 59 centimeters wide, 37 cm deep, and 11 cm tall. IEEE Spectrum, 28 May 2024 The astronauts will be in space for a little more than a week testing the Starliner spacecraft and its subsystems. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 6 May 2024 The chip contained lines of code used by the flight data subsystem (FDS), one of three computers aboard the spacecraft and the one that is responsible for collecting and packaging data before sending it back to Earth. IEEE Spectrum, 6 May 2024 In December 2023, the JPL announced the problem was with one of Voyager 1's onboard computers called the flight data subsystem (FDS). Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 24 Apr. 2024 On March 3, the Voyager mission team noticed that activity from one section of the flight data subsystem, was different from the rest of the computer's unreadable data stream. Eric Lagatta, USA TODAY, 15 Mar. 2024 This subsystem bundles the information collected by the probe before it is beamed back to the mission team. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 26 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'subsystem.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1756, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of subsystem was in 1756

Dictionary Entries Near subsystem

Cite this Entry

“Subsystem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

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