sys ‧ tem S1 W1 /ˈsɪstəm, ˈsɪstɪm/ BrE AmE noun
[ Word Family: noun : ↑ system , ↑ systematization ; verb : ↑ systematize ; adverb : ↑ systematically ; adjective : ↑ systematic ]
[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: Late Latin ; Origin: systema , from Greek , from synistanai 'to combine' , from syn- ( ⇨ ↑ syn- ) + histanai 'to cause to stand' ]
1 . RELATED PARTS [countable] a group of related parts that work together as a whole for a particular purpose:
an alarm system
a well-designed heating system
the digestive system
the railway system
2 . METHOD [countable] an organized set of ideas, methods, or ways of working
system of/for doing something
We’ve got a good system for dealing with complaints from customers.
I don’t understand your filing system.
under a system
Under the present system, we do not have any flexibility.
3 . COMPUTERS [countable] a group of computers that are connected to each other:
The system has crashed (=stopped working) .
4 . sb’s system someone’s body – used when you are talking about its medical or physical condition:
All this overeating is not good for my system.
5 . all systems go used, sometimes humorously, to say that you are ready to do something or that something is ready to happen
6 . the system the official rules and powerful organizations that restrict what you can do:
You can’t beat the system.
7 . get something out of your system informal to do something that helps you get rid of unpleasant strong feelings:
I was furious, so I went for a run to get it out of my system.
8 . ORDER [uncountable] the use of sensible and organized methods:
We need a bit more system in the way we organize our files.
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + system
▪ a heating system (=in a building)
We’re waiting for the heating system to be repaired.
▪ an alarm/security system
A new alarm system has been installed.
▪ an air-conditioning system
The building hasn’t got an air-conditioning system.
▪ the rail/road system (=all the roads or railways in a country)
Traffic problems are made worse by the country’s inadequate road system.
▪ sb’s digestive/reproductive/nervous system (=in someone’s body)
These vitamins are essential for a healthy nervous system.
▪ sb’s immune system (=they system which keeps your body healthy)
Some drugs can damage the immune system.
▪ install a system (=put it into a building)
Our security system is simple to install.
▪ a system works
The air-conditioning system isn’t working.
▪ a system fails/breaks down
If your immune system breaks down, you will be vulnerable to infections.
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + system
It was a highly effective system of communication.
He described the tax system as inefficient and unfair.
The Australian health care system is extremely complex.
▪ an elaborate system
The proposal has to get through an elaborate system of committees.
▪ the current/existing system
The current system of taxation is unnecessarily complicated.
▪ the political/legal/educational etc system
The country is rightly proud of its legal system.
▪ the economic/banking system
There are fears that the whole banking system could collapse.
▪ the health care system
The West should be helping these countries to develop modern health care systems.
▪ develop a system (=create a new one)
The Environment Agency has developed a new national flood warning system.
▪ introduce a system (=start to use it)
The government has introduced a system of student loans.
▪ adopt a system (=decide to use it)
They decided to adopt the electoral system used in Britain.
▪ use/run/operate a system
They use a system of grades to evaluate each hospital’s performance.
We operate a booking system.
▪ a system operates/works (=exists and is used)
He tried to explain how the planning system operates.
▪ a system works (=is successful)
The public needs to see that the complaints system works.
▪ a system breaks down/fails
An alarm sounds a warning before the system breaks down.
▪ a system collapses (=fails completely)
The European Exchange Rate system collapsed in the 1970s.
▪ modernize/reform a system
We need to reform the electoral system.
▪ a system of government/education/justice etc
Why was Britain so slow to develop a national system of education?
• • •
▪ system an organized set of ideas, methods, actions etc that you use to do something:
the airport security system
the system for dealing with refugees
▪ process a series of actions that are done in order to achieve a particular result:
the process of teaching children to read
Repeat the same process, until all the sugar has dissolved.
▪ procedure the official or usually agreed way of doing something:
You must follow the normal complaints procedure.
Large companies have a standard procedure for informing new employees about conditions of work.
▪ formula a method or set of principles that you use to solve a problem or make sure that something is successful:
The team are hoping to use the same winning formula that they used last season.
There is no magic formula for success (=a method that is certain to succeed) .