noun Etymology: Late Latin systemat-, systema, from Greek systēmat-, systēma, from synistanai to combine, from syn- + histanai to cause to stand — more at stand Date: 1603 1. a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole <
a number system
: 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 confusion — Ellen Glasgow
5. an organized society or social situation regarded as stultifying or oppressive ; establishment 2 — usually used with the Synonyms: see methodsystemless adjective

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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