A system is a group of things that connect and form some kind of coherent whole. All the individual buses and the separate routes they take through your city are together called a bus system.

Any time various separate things act together in some organized way, you can call the entire group of interconnected things a system. Your veins, arteries, and heart together make up your body's circulatory system, and the group of planets which rotate around the sun are called a solar system. The Greek word systema, or "organized whole," is where system originates.

Definitions of system

n a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole

“a vast system of production and distribution and consumption keep the country going”
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language system
a system of linguistic units or elements used in a particular language
judicatory, judicature, judicial system, judiciary
the system of law courts that administer justice and constitute the judicial branch of government
economic system, economy
the system of production and distribution and consumption
a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment
social organisation, social organization, social structure, social system, structure
the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships
a system of coordinated measures for apprehending (criminals or other individuals)
a system of means and activities whereby a social institution functions
network, web
an interconnected system of things or people
nonlinear system
a system whose performance cannot be described by equations of the first degree
a system that is part of some larger system
a system considered analogous in structure or function to a living body
a systematic orderly arrangement
a collection of particulars considered as a system
an entire system; used in the phrase `the whole shebang'
solar system
the sun with the celestial bodies that revolve around it in its gravitational field
water system
a river and all of its tributaries
root system, rootage
a developed system of roots
any fine network (especially one in the body composed of cells or blood vessels)
accentual system, prosodic system
the system of accentuation used in a particular language
morphophonemic system
the morphophonemics of a particular language
phonemic system
the system of phonemes recognized in a language
phonologic system, phonological system
the system of phones used in a particular language
the pattern of syllable formation in a particular language
tense system
a system of tenses used in a particular language
feudal system, feudalism
the social system that developed in Europe in the 8th century; vassals were protected by lords who they had to serve in war
patriarchate, patriarchy
a form of social organization in which a male is the family head and title is traced through the male line
matriarchate, matriarchy
a form of social organization in which a female is the family head and title is traced through the female line
a form of social system in which power goes to those with superior intellects
Federal Judiciary
the judiciary of the United States which is responsible for interpreting and enforcing federal laws
an economic system built on large industries rather than on agriculture or craftsmanship
free enterprise, laissez-faire economy, market economy, private enterprise
an economy that relies chiefly on market forces to allocate goods and resources and to determine prices
mixed economy
an economic system that combines private and state enterprises
non-market economy
an economy that is not a market economy
state capitalism
an economic system that is primarily capitalistic but there is some degree of government ownership of the means of production
state socialism
an economic system in which the government owns most means of production but some degree of private capitalism is allowed
a social organization in which diversity of racial or religious or ethnic or cultural groups is tolerated
class structure
the organization of classes within a society
segregation, separatism
a social system that provides separate facilities for minority groups
espionage network
a network of spies
old boy network
an exclusive informal network linking members of a social class or profession or organization in order to provide connections and information and favors (especially in business or politics)
support system
a network of facilities and people who interact and remain in informal communication for mutual assistance; a network that enables you to live in a certain style
Type of:
group, grouping
any number of entities (members) considered as a unit

n instrumentality that combines interrelated interacting artifacts designed to work as a coherent entity

“he bought a new stereo system
“the system consists of a motor and a small computer”
Labyrinth of Minos
a vast labyrinth built in Crete by Daedalus at the command of Minos in order to contain the Minotaur
National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations
a computerized data system to provide brokers with price quotations for securities traded over the counter
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audio system, sound system
a system of electronic equipment for recording or reproducing sound
communication system
a system for communicating
ADP system, ADPS, automatic data processing system, computer system, computing system
a system of one or more computers and associated software with common storage
(physics) a system designed to prevent the accidental release of radioactive material from a reactor
control system
a system for controlling the operation of another system
data system, information system
system consisting of the network of all communication channels used within an organization
drainage system
a system of watercourses or drains for carrying off excess water
exhaust, exhaust system
system consisting of the parts of an engine through which burned gases or steam are discharged
EDS, explosive detection system
a rapid automatic system to detect plastic explosives in passengers' luggage using X-ray technology and computers; designed for use in airports
ETD, explosive trace detection
a system for screening luggage in airports; an agent passes a swab around or inside luggage and then runs the swab through a machine that can detect trace amounts of explosives
guidance device, guidance system
a system of equipment for automatically guiding the path of a vehicle (especially a missile)
assemblage, hookup
a system of components assembled together for a particular purpose
inertial guidance system, inertial navigation system
a system to control a plane or spacecraft; uses inertial forces
a system of locks in a canal or waterway
labyrinth, maze
complex system of paths or tunnels in which it is easy to get lost
mechanical system
a system of elements that interact on mechanical principles
navigational system
a system that provides information useful in determining the position and course of a ship or aircraft
electronic network, network
(electronics) a system of interconnected electronic components or circuits
a system of intersecting lines or channels
propulsion system
a system that provides a propelling or driving force
any system that resonates
scaffolding, staging
a system of scaffolds
security system
(computing) a system that enforces boundaries between computer networks
selsyn, synchro
a system consisting of a generator and a motor so connected that the motor will assume the same relative position as the generator; the generator and the motor are synchronized
shipboard system
a system designed to work as a coherent entity on board a naval ship
solar thermal system
a system that converts sunlight into heat
sprinkler system
a system for extinguishing fires; water from a network of overhead pipes is released through nozzles that open automatically with the rise in temperature
an automotive system for shifting gears in which the gears revolve at the same speed and so shift smoothly
anti-submarine rocket
a shipboard system to fire rockets at submarines
backup system
a computer system for making backups
basic point defense missile system
a shipboard missile system
closed loop, closed-loop system
a control system with a feedback loop that is active
computer network
(computer science) a network of computers
early warning system
a network of radar installations designed to detect enemy missiles or aircraft while there is still time to intercept them
(computing) a security system consisting of a combination of hardware and software that limits the exposure of a computer or computer network to attack from crackers; commonly used on local area networks that are connected to the internet
fuel injection, fuel injection system
mechanical system to inject atomized fuel directly into the cylinders of an internal-combustion engine; avoids the need for a carburetor
GPS, Global Positioning System
a navigational system involving satellites and computers that can determine the latitude and longitude of a receiver on Earth by computing the time difference for signals from different satellites to reach the receiver
ground control
a communication system for sending continuous radio messages to an airplane pilot who is making a ground-controlled approach to landing
intercom, intercommunication system
a communication system linking different rooms within a building or ship etc
JDAM, Joint Direct Attack Munition
a pinpoint bomb guidance device that can be strapped to a gravity bomb thus converting dumb bombs into smart bombs
a mechanical system of rods or springs or pivots that transmits power or motion
force feed, force-feed lubricating system, lubricating system, pressure feed, pressure-feed lubricating system
mechanical system of lubricating internal combustion engines in which a pump forces oil into the engine bearings
naval tactical data system
a shipboard system for collecting and displaying tactical data
omnidirectional radio range, omnidirectional range, omnirange
a navigational system consisting of a network of radio beacons that provide aircraft with information about exact position and bearing
the combination of a particular computer and a particular operating system
assembly line, line, production line
mechanical system in a factory whereby an article is conveyed through sites at which successive operations are performed on it
P.A., P.A. system, PA, PA system, public address system
an electronic amplification system used as a communication system in public areas
radio, wireless
a communication system based on broadcasting electromagnetic waves
link, radio link
a two-way radio communication system (usually microwave); part of a more extensive telecommunication network
recording system
audio system for recoding sound
an audio system that can reproduce and amplify signals to produce sound
a network of fine lines used by astronomers as a reference for measurements on star photographs
crosshairs, graticule, reticle, reticule
a network of fine lines, dots, cross hairs, or wires in the focal plane of the eyepiece of an optical instrument
an arrangement resembling a net or network
servo, servomechanism, servosystem
control system that converts a small mechanical motion into one requiring much greater power; may include a negative feedback system
ship-towed long-range acoustic detection system
a shipboard system consisting of an acoustic detection system that is towed behind the ship
information superhighway, superhighway
an extensive electronic network (such as the internet) used for the rapid transfer of sound and video and graphics in digital form
surface-to-air missile system
the shipboard system that fires missiles at aircraft
suspension, suspension system
a mechanical system of springs or shock absorbers connecting the wheels and axles to the chassis of a wheeled vehicle
target acquisition system
a shipboard system for the detection and identification and location of a target with enough detail to permit effective weapon employment
telecom equipment, telecom system, telecommunication equipment, telecommunication system
a communication system for communicating at a distance
phone system, telephone system
a communication system that transmits sound between distant points
ventilating system, ventilation, ventilation system
a mechanical system in a building that provides fresh air
Type of:
instrumentality, instrumentation
an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end

n the living body considered as made up of interdependent components forming a unified whole

“exercise helped him get the alcohol out of his system
Type of:
live body
the body of a living animal or person

n a group of physiologically or anatomically related organs or parts

“the body has a system of organs for digestion”
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articulatory system
the system of joints in the body
digestive system, gastrointestinal system, systema alimentarium, systema digestorium
the system that makes food absorbable into the body
endocrine system
the system of glands that produce endocrine secretions that help to control bodily metabolic activity
venation, venous blood system
(zoology) the system of venous blood vessels in an animal
immune system
a system (including the thymus and bone marrow and lymphoid tissues) that protects the body from foreign substances and pathogenic organisms by producing the immune response
integumentary system
the skin and its appendages
RES, reticuloendothelial system
a widely distributed system consisting of all the cells able to ingest bacteria or colloidal particles etc, except for certain white blood cells
MPS, mononuclear phagocyte system, system of macrophages
a widely distributed system of free and fixed macrophages derived from bone marrow
muscle system, muscular structure, musculature
the muscular system of an organism
musculoskeletal system
the system of muscles and tendons and ligaments and bones and joints and associated tissues that move the body and maintain its form
nervous system, systema nervosum
the sensory and control apparatus consisting of a network of nerve cells
CNS, central nervous system, systema nervosum centrale
the portion of the vertebrate nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord
peripheral nervous system, systema nervosum periphericum
the section of the nervous system lying outside the brain and spinal cord
genital system, reproductive system
organs and tissues involved in the production and maturation of gametes and in their union and subsequent development as offspring
apparatus urogenitalis, genitourinary apparatus, genitourinary system, systema urogenitale, urinary apparatus, urinary system, urogenital apparatus, urogenital system
the system that includes all organs involved in reproduction and in the formation and voidance of urine
respiratory system, systema respiratorium
the system for taking in oxygen and giving off carbon dioxide; in terrestrial animals this is accomplished by breathing
sensory system
the body's system of sense organs
a system of body parts that together serve some particular purpose
vascular system
the vessels and tissue that carry or circulate fluids such as blood or lymph or sap through the body of an animal or plant
frame, skeletal system, skeleton, systema skeletale
the hard structure (bones and cartilages) that provides a frame for the body of an animal
water vascular system
system of fluid-filled tubes used by echinoderms in locomotion and feeding and respiration
auditory system
the sensory system for hearing
visual system
the sensory system for vision
diaphragm, midriff
(anatomy) a muscular partition separating the abdominal and thoracic cavities; functions in respiration
vestibular apparatus, vestibular system
organs mediating the labyrinthine sense; concerned with equilibrium
portal system
system of veins that carry blood from the abdominal organs to the liver
lymphatic system, systema lymphaticum
the interconnected system of spaces and vessels between body tissues and organs by which lymph circulates throughout the body
sympathetic nervous system
originates in the thoracic regions of the spinal cord; opposes physiological effects of the parasympathetic: reduces digestive secretions; speeds the heart; contracts blood vessels
parasympathetic, parasympathetic nervous system
originates in the brain stem and lower part of the spinal cord; opposes physiological effects of the sympathetic nervous system: stimulates digestive secretions; slows the heart; constricts the pupils; dilates blood vessels
airway, respiratory tract
the passages through which air enters and leaves the body
urinary tract
the organs and tubes involved in the production and excretion of urine
cardiovascular system, circulatory system
the organs and tissues involved in circulating blood and lymph through the body
female reproductive system
the reproductive system of females
male reproductive system
the reproductive system of males
esophagus, gorge, gullet, oesophagus
the passage between the pharynx and the stomach
the internal skeleton; bony and cartilaginous structure (especially of vertebrates)
the exterior protective or supporting structure or shell of many animals (especially invertebrates) including bony or horny parts such as nails or scales or hoofs
Type of:
body part
any part of an organism such as an organ or extremity

n (physical chemistry) a sample of matter in which substances in different phases are in equilibrium

“in a static system oil cannot be replaced by water on a surface”
“a system generating hydrogen peroxide”
Type of:
that which has mass and occupies space

n an ordered manner; orderliness by virtue of being methodical and well organized

“we can't do it unless we establish some system around here”
organisation, organization
Type of:
methodicalness, orderliness
the quality of appreciating method and system

n a complex of methods or rules governing behavior

“they have to operate under a system they oppose”
“that language has a complex system for indicating gender”
system of rules
Apollo program
a program of space flights undertaken by US to land a man on the Moon
Gemini program
a program of space flights undertaken by US in 1965 and 1966
Mercury program
a program of rocket-powered flights undertaken by US between 1961 and 1963 with the goal of putting a man in orbit around the earth
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a system that provides quantitative information about finances
a system of rules of conduct or method of practice
frame, frame of reference
a system of assumptions and standards that sanction behavior and give it meaning
gambling system
a system of rules for placing bets that is believed to lead to winning
(government) the system or form by which a community or other political unit is governed
honor system
a system of conduct in which participants are trusted not to take unfair advantage of others
logic, logical system, system of logic
a system of reasoning
merit system
the system of employing and promoting civil servants on the basis of ability
point system
a system of evaluation based on awarding points according to rules
spoils system
the system of employing and promoting civil servants who are friends and supporters of the group in power
a system of principles for philosophic or scientific investigations; an instrument for acquiring knowledge
program, programme
a system of projects or services intended to meet a public need
a system of belief based on mystical insight into the nature of God and the soul
a system of beliefs and practices based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner; it claims to integrate the practical and psychological in child-centered education
the system of operations performed by a computer that underlies the machine's representation of logical operations
theological system, theology
a particular system or school of religious beliefs and teachings
ethic, ethical code
a system of principles governing morality and acceptable conduct
the system of techniques or symbols serving as a means of expression (as in arts or crafts)
Aristotelian logic
the syllogistic logic of Aristotle as developed by Boethius in the Middle Ages
defence policy, defence program, defense policy, defense program
a program for defending a country against its enemies
educational program
a program for providing education
rehabilitation program
a program for restoring someone to good health
space program
a technological program intended to explore outer space
Superfund, Superfund program
the federal government's program to locate and investigate and clean up the worst uncontrolled and abandoned toxic waste sites nationwide; administered by the Environmental Protection Agency
tax policy, tax program
a program for setting taxes
works program
a program to provide jobs on public works paid for by government funds
Cabala, Cabbala, Cabbalah, Kabala, Kabbala, Kabbalah, Qabbala, Qabbalah
an esoteric theosophy of rabbinical origin based on the Hebrew scriptures and developed between the 7th and 18th centuries
formal logic, mathematical logic, symbolic logic
any logical system that abstracts the form of statements away from their content in order to establish abstract criteria of consistency and validity
Christian theology
the teachings of Christian churches
liberation theology
a form of Christian theology (developed by South American Roman Catholics) that emphasizes social and political liberation as the anticipation of ultimate salvation
natural theology
a theology that holds that knowledge of God can be acquired by human reason without the aid of divine revelation
double standard
an ethical or moral code that applies more strictly to one group than to another
balance of international payments, balance of payments
a system of recording all of a country's economic transactions with the rest of the world over a period of one year
current account
that part of the balance of payments recording a nation's exports and imports of goods and services and transfer payments
Type of:
a way of doing something, especially a systematic way; implies an orderly logical arrangement (usually in steps)

n an organized structure for arranging or classifying

“he tried to understand their system of classification”
arrangement, organisation, organization
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classification system
a system for classifying things
an artificial or unnatural or obviously contrived arrangement of details or parts etc.
coordinate system, frame of reference, reference frame, reference system
a system that uses coordinates to establish position
data structure
(computer science) the organization of data (and its storage allocations in a computer)
design, plan
an arrangement scheme
distribution, statistical distribution
(statistics) an arrangement of values of a variable showing their observed or theoretical frequency of occurrence
genetic map
graphical representation of the arrangement of genes on a chromosome
kinship system
(anthropology) the system of social relationships that constitute kinship in a particular culture, including the terminology that is used and the reciprocal obligations that are entailed
an arrangement of points or particles or objects in a regular periodic pattern in 2 or 3 dimensions
living arrangement
an arrangement to allow people (or ideas) to coexist
(computer science) a rigorous and exhaustive organization of some knowledge domain that is usually hierarchical and contains all the relevant entities and their relations
a system of timekeeping that defines the beginning and length and divisions of the year
Dewey decimal classification, Dewey decimal system, decimal system of classification
a system used by libraries to classify nonfictional publications into subject categories; the subject is indicated by a three-digit numeral and further specification is given by numerals following a decimal point; publications are shelved by number
Cartesian coordinate system
a coordinate system for which the coordinates of a point are its distances from a set perpendicular lines that intersect at the origin of the system
a flat distribution having equal frequencies of occurrence
configuration, constellation
an arrangement of parts or elements
Bravais lattice, crystal lattice, space lattice
a 3-dimensional geometric arrangement of the atoms or molecules or ions composing a crystal
hierarchical data structure, hierarchical structure
a structure of data having several levels arranged in a treelike structure
hierarchical classification system
a classification system where entries are arranged based on some hierarchical structure
file system, filing system
a system of classifying into files (usually arranged alphabetically)
grouping, pigeonholing
a system for classifying things into groups
rating system, scoring system
a system of classifying according to quality or merit or amount
ABO blood group system, ABO group, ABO system
a classification system for the antigens of human blood; used in blood transfusion therapy; four groups are A and B and AB and O
a plan or design of something that is laid out
snare, trap
something (often something deceptively attractive) that catches you unawares
inertial frame, inertial reference frame
a coordinate system in which Newton's first law of motion is valid
space-time, space-time continuum
the four-dimensional coordinate system (3 dimensions of space and 1 of time) in which physical events are located
frequency distribution
a distribution of observed frequencies of occurrence of the values of a variable
Gaussian distribution, normal distribution
a theoretical distribution with finite mean and variance
Poisson distribution
a theoretical distribution that is a good approximation to the binomial distribution when the probability is small and the number of trials is large
sample, sample distribution, sampling
items selected at random from a population and used to test hypotheses about the population
Bernoulli distribution, binomial distribution
a theoretical distribution of the number of successes in a finite set of independent trials with a constant probability of success
hotel plan, meal plan
a plan and a room rate for providing a room and meals to guests at a hotel
lunar calendar
a calendar based on lunar cycles
lunisolar calendar
a calendar based on both lunar and solar cycles
solar calendar
a calendar based on solar cycles
Type of:
the complex composition of knowledge as elements and their combinations

n a procedure or process for obtaining an objective

“they had to devise a system that did not depend on cooperation”
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credit system
a system for allowing people to purchase things on credit
legal system
a system for interpreting and enforcing the laws
pricing system
a system for setting prices on goods or services
promotion system
a system for advancing participants to higher-status positions
the legal system that allows an accused person to be temporarily released from custody (usually on condition that a sum of money guarantees their appearance at trial)
jury system
a legal system for determining the facts at issue in a law suit
patent system
a legal system for protecting the rights of inventors
tax system
a legal system for assessing and collecting taxes
electoral system, voting system
a legal system for making democratic choices
Type of:
plan of action
a plan for actively doing something

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