Meaning of SYSTEM in English

ˈsistə̇m noun

( -s )

Etymology: Late Latin systema, from Greek systēma, from synistanai to bring together, combine, from syn- + histanai to cause to stand — more at stand


a. : a complex unity formed of many often diverse parts subject to a common plan or serving a common purpose

b. : an aggregation or assemblage of objects joined in regular interaction or interdependence : a set of units combined by nature or art to form an integral, organic, or organized whole : an orderly working totality : a coherent unification

the notion implicit in the word universe expresses an act of faith, for it projects system far beyond the evidence

c. : a group of bodies (as the solar system) moving together in an interrelated pattern or under the influence of related forces or attractions

d. : the related body organs that cooperate in performing one of the fundamental vital functions

e. : a group of related natural objects or forces

a weather system

rivers of the continental drainage system

f. : a group of devices or artificial objects forming a network or used for a common purpose

a nationwide dial telephone system

an express highway system

a system of public parks

a hot air heating system

the electrical systems of automobiles grew steadily more elaborate

g. : a major division of rocks usually larger than a series and including all formations deposited or otherwise formed during a period or an era

the Silurian system

h. : a group of freight or passenger transportation lines or services operating under common management and usually covering several routes

a national airfreight system


a. : the body considered as a functional unit

toxins from a focal lesion pervading the whole system

b. : one's whole affective being

a few hard knocks will get that cockiness out of his system


a. : the structure or whole formed by the essential principles or facts of a science or branch of knowledge or thought : an organized or methodically arranged set of ideas, theories, or speculations


(1) : the content of laws, doctrines, ideas, or principles belonging to a philosophy, a religion, or a form of government : an orderly scheme of thought or constitutions

(2) : a particular philosophy, religion, or political order

a positivistic system

a collectivist system

the capitalist system

(3) : a form of social, economic, or other organization or practice

a tenant farmer system

a managed currency system

c. : hypothesis

d. : treatise

e. : coherent or harmonious arrangement, pattern, or form : orderliness , regularity

began to plan how she would … bring system out of confusion — Ellen Glasgow

f. : a particular classification, notation, or other formal arrangement or scheme

a biological taxonomic system

a system of musical notation

a Vigenère system of cryptography

4. English law : method or design as shown by other acts of a defendant similar to that charged of which evidence is admissible to rebut or negative a defense of accident, mistake, or ignorance or to prove a course of conduct


a. : a sequence of syllables, feet, cola, periods, lines, or strophes so related together as to present a relatively discrete and bounded rhythmic pattern or figure

b. : a series with fixed limits in classical prosody:

(1) : a group of two or more periods

(2) : a group of verses in the same measure


a. : a musical interval in ancient Greek music regarded as a compound of two lesser ones

b. : a classified series of tones (as a mode or scale)

c. : the collection of staffs which form a full score

7. : a group of zooids in a compound ascidian arranged about a cloacal cavity which serve for them in common and into which the atrial orifices of all open

8. : an assemblage of substances that is in or tends toward equilibrium, that may be homogeneous or heterogeneous and if the latter may be classed by the number of phases, and that may also be classed by the number of components or the number of variables

a two-phase ternary system

univariant and bivariant systems

— see phase rule

9. : an organized or established procedure or method or the set of materials or appliances used to carry it out

a business office system

10. : an organization or network for the collection and distribution of information, news, or entertainment : a communications industry

a financial news system

a radio broadcasting system

a telephone system

11. : either of the two sets of four rows of squares that extend across the checkerboard from the black squares in the king row

12. : an organized society or social situation regarded as hampering, stifling, or stultifying

had always loved that effort to beat the system — J.P.Marquand

it's the system , and I'm caught — Morley Callaghan

13. : a method or scheme of betting by which a gambler tries to assure himself of greater winnings than luck or chance would afford

invented a new system at roulette — D.G.Gerahty


scheme , network , complex , organism , economy : system may imply that the component units of an aggregate exist and operate in unison or concord according to a coherent plan for smooth functioning

amid a system where the classic principles of capitalism still work successfully — H.J.Laski

comprehend all experience in a closed system — W.R.Inge

it does not form an independent system, like the universe; it exists as an element in human culture — Lewis Mumford

scheme may stress an overall design for the interrelation of components, often a design carefully calculated

the cheerful, sanguine, courageous scheme of life, which was in part natural to her and in part slowly built up — Havelock Ellis

our complex system, presenting the rare and difficult scheme of one general government, whose action extends over the whole — John Marshall

the Newtonian scheme of the universe does not banish God from the universe — Times Literary Supplement

network suggests a system with interconnection or intercrossing at salient points sometimes involved but susceptible to analysis or control

a network of abandoned narrow-gage logging roads penetrates the wooded areas — American Guide Series: Michigan

even the lowliest savages live in a social world characterized by a complex network of traditionally conserved habits, usages, and attitudes — Edward Sapir

complex stresses an elaborate interweaving, interconnection and interrelationship of components difficult to trace

for these ancestors of ours, in one half of their thoughts and acts, were still guided by a complex of intellectual, ethical, and social assumptions of which only medieval scholars can today comprehend the true purport — G.M.Trevelyan

this complex of conditions which taxes the terms upon which human beings associate and live together is summed up in the word culture — John Dewey

modern science, with infinite effort, has discovered and announced that man is a bewildering complex of energies — Henry Adams

organism literally applies only to systems having life; figuratively, it suggests analogies to biological systems

not because of an interest in the individual himself as a matured and single organism of ideas but in his assumed typicality for the community as a whole — Edward Sapir

the Church grew, like any other organism, by responding to its environment — W.R.Inge

economy implies a system concerned with needs and their regulation and fulfillment by individual, species, household, business, or government

the plantation economy, with its base in slavery, was not conducive to the growth of industrial enterprise — American Guide Series: North Carolina

the principle may operate successfully in the close economy of a good family, or even within a small religious community — J.A.Hobson

Synonym: see in addition method .

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.