Etymology: Late Latin systemat-, systema, from Greek systēmat-, systēma, from synistanai to combine, from syn- + histanai to cause to stand — more at stand
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 method • systemless adjective
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.