[sys.tem] n [LL systemat-, systema, fr. Gk systemat-, systema, fr. synistanai to combine, fr. syn- + histanai to cause to stand--more at stand] (1603) 1: a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole "a number ~": as a (1): a group of interacting bodies under the influence of related forces "a gravitational ~" (2): an assemblage of substances that is in or tends to equilibrium "a thermodynamic ~" b (1): a group of body organs that together perform one or more vital functions "the digestive ~" (2): the body considered as a functional unit c: a group of related natural objects or forces "a river ~" d: a group of devices or artificial objects or an organization forming a network esp. for distributing something or serving a common purpose "a telephone ~" "a heating ~" "a highway ~" "a data processing ~" e: a major division of rocks usu. 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 ~"
2: an organized set of doctrines, ideas, or principles usu. intended to explain the arrangement or working of a systematic whole "the Newtonian ~ of mechanics" 3 a: an organized or established procedure "the touch ~ of typing" b: a manner of classifying, symbolizing, or schematizing "a taxonomic ~" "the decimal ~"
4: harmonious arrangement or pattern: order "bring ~ out of confusion --Ellen Glasgow"
5: an organized society or social situation regarded as stultifying: establishment 2--usu. used with the syn see method -- sys.tem.less adj