n. 1 a complex whole; a set of connected things or parts; an organized body of material or immaterial things. 2 a set of devices (e.g. pulleys) functioning together. 3 Physiol. a a set of organs in the body with a common structure or function (the digestive system). b the human or animal body as a whole. 4 a method; considered principles of procedure or classification. b classification. 5 orderliness. 6 a a body of theory or practice relating to or prescribing a particular form of government, religion, etc. b (prec. by the) the prevailing political or social order, esp. regarded as oppressive and intransigent. 7 a method of choosing one's procedure in gambling etc. 8 Computing a group of related hardware units or programs or both, esp. when dedicated to a single application. 9 one of seven general types of crystal structure. 10 a major group of geological strata (the Devonian system). 11 Physics a group of associated bodies moving under mutual gravitation etc. 12 Mus. the braced staves of a score. get a thing out of one's system colloq. be rid of a preoccupation or anxiety. systems analysis the analysis of a complex process or operation in order to improve its efficiency, esp. by applying a computer system. systemless adj.
[ F système or LL systema f. Gk sustema -atos (as SYN-, histemi set up) ]