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 confusionEllen 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

Examples of system in a Sentence

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 That was slightly higher than the median amount they had been approved for in the traditional system — roughly $34,000 — but were not necessarily getting. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2024 After some seasoning in Canales’ system, McMillan could profile as a long-term replacement for Adam Thielen in the slot. Mike Kaye, Charlotte Observer, 15 Apr. 2024 The 17 visitors were treated to lunches and cultural shows and, on the final day, toured a plant that makes products long coveted by Tehran: advanced Russian air defense systems for shooting down enemy planes. Joby Warrick, Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2024 The tires bounced in accordance with the truck’s suspension system. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 15 Apr. 2024 How the Iron Dome system works: Iron Dome can detect and engage rockets up to 40 miles away. George Petras, USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2024 The trial represents a stunning and unprecedented test of the American legal and political system. Brian Bennett, TIME, 15 Apr. 2024 Israel's anti-missile defense system intercepted many attacks that could be seen primarily over areas surrounding Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Kira Caspers, The Arizona Republic, 15 Apr. 2024 In New York City, the idea to distribute rat contraceptives got fresh attention in city government Thursday following the death of an escaped zoo owl, known as Flaco, who was found dead with rat poison in his system. Maysoon Khan, Fortune, 15 Apr. 2024

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

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 19 Apr. 2024.

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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