system

noun

sys·​tem ˈsi-stəm How to pronounce system (audio)
1
: a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole
a number system
: such as
a(1)
: a group of interacting bodies under the influence of related forces
a gravitational system
(2)
: an assemblage of substances that is in or tends to equilibrium
a thermodynamic system
b(1)
: a group of body organs that together perform one or more vital functions
the digestive system
(2)
: the body considered as a functional unit
c
: a group of related natural objects or forces
a river system
d
: a group of devices or artificial objects or an organization forming a network especially for distributing something or serving a common purpose
a telephone system
a heating system
a highway system
a computer system
e
: a major division of rocks usually larger than a series and including all formed during a period or era
f
: a form of social, economic, or political organization or practice
the capitalist system
2
: an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usually intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole
the Newtonian system of mechanics
3
a
: an organized or established procedure
the touch system of typing
b
: a manner of classifying, symbolizing, or schematizing
a taxonomic system
the decimal system
4
: harmonious arrangement or pattern : order
bring system out of confusion Ellen Glasgow
5
: an organized society or social situation regarded as stultifying or oppressive : establishment sense 2
usually used with the
systemless adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for system

method, mode, manner, way, fashion, system mean the means taken or procedure followed in achieving an end.

method implies an orderly logical arrangement usually in steps.

effective teaching methods

mode implies an order or course followed by custom, tradition, or personal preference.

the preferred mode of transportation

manner is close to mode but may imply a procedure or method that is individual or distinctive.

an odd manner of conducting

way is very general and may be used for any of the preceding words.

has her own way of doing things

fashion may suggest a peculiar or characteristic way of doing something.

rushing about in his typical fashion

system suggests a fully developed or carefully formulated method often emphasizing rational orderliness.

a filing system

Example Sentences

The players like the coach's system. Under the new system, students will have to pass an exam to graduate. She devised a new filing system. We need a better system for handling incoming e-mail.
Recent Examples on the Web The workings of the criminal justice system were never Dead to Me’s strong suit or main concern, and the investigator characters don’t get much in the way of a send-off. Time, 18 Nov. 2022 The city plans to launch two pilot programs in 2023 aimed at youth groups, including those transitioning out of the foster care system. Christian Martinezstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 There’s absolutely no need to throw every border asylum claim into the drawn-out and adversarial arena of a court system. Felipe De La Hoz, The New Republic, 18 Nov. 2022 The stadium’s dual arches remained intact and were joined by a wide canopy to support the integration of the cooling system. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2022 During the construction of the interstate highway system from the 1950s to the 1970s, engineers slammed highways through urban areas, often creating racial barriers between neighborhoods. Steven Litt, cleveland, 17 Nov. 2022 If Ukraine did inadvertently shoot an SA-10 missile deep into Polish territory, this would not be the first case of a Soviet-era missile defense system missing its mark. John Hudson, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2022 Sarafin ticked off all of the launch accomplishments including all of the separation events for the rocket including the boosters, fairings, jettison of the launch abort system, shutdown the four RS-25 engines and jettison of the core stage. Richard Tribou, Orlando Sentinel, 17 Nov. 2022 Another worry is the blow to the credibility of the financial system. Arkansas Online, 17 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'system.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Late Latin systemat-, systema, from Greek systēmat-, systēma, from synistanai to combine, from syn- + histanai to cause to stand — more at stand

First Known Use

circa 1638, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of system was circa 1638

Dictionary Entries Near system

Cite this Entry

“System.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/system. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

system

noun

sys·​tem ˈsis-təm How to pronounce system (audio)
1
a
: a group of objects or units combined to form a whole and to move or work together
the railroad system
a park system
b
: a group of bodily organs that together carry on one or more vital functions
the digestive system
c
: the body considered as a functional unit
a system weakened by disease
d
: an orderly plan or method of governing or arranging
a democratic system of government
e
: a major division of rocks usually larger than a series and including all formed during a period or era
2
a
: a set of ideas or statements that explains the order or functioning of a whole
b
: a method of classifying, representing, or arranging
a decimal system of numbers
systemless adjective

Medical Definition

system

noun

sys·​tem ˈsis-təm How to pronounce system (audio)
1
a
: a group of body organs or structures that together perform one or more vital functions see circulatory system, digestive system, endocrine system, limbic system, nervous system, reproductive system, respiratory system
b
: the body considered as a functional unit
2
: a manner of classifying, symbolizing, or schematizing
a taxonomic system

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