system

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See also: System and systém

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An illustration of the solar system (sense 1). (Ceres, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, is the largest dwarf planet in the solar system.)
A screenshot of the command line interface of MS-DOS, an operating system (sense 1.2) used in some personal computers in the 1980s and 1990s
Musical notation indicating a system (sense 1.4), which consists of a treble staff (top) and a bass staff linked by a brace (left)
An illustration of the human digestive system (sense 1.5)

From French système (system) or Late Latin systēma (system; harmony), from Ancient Greek σύστημα (sústēma, whole made of several parts or members), from σύν (sún, with, together) + ἵστημι (hístēmi, to stand) (Proto-Indo-European *steh₂- (to stand (up))).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

system (plural systems)

  1. A collection of organized things; a whole composed of relationships among its members. [from early 17th c.]
    There are eight planets in the solar system.
    • 2013 May–June, Charles T. Ambrose, “Alzheimer’s Disease: The Great Morbidity of the 21st Century”, in American Scientist[1], volume 101, number 3, archived from the original on 24 April 2013, page 200:
      Similar studies of rats have employed four different intracranial resorbable, slow sustained release systems—surgical foam, a thermal gel depot, a microcapsule or biodegradable polymer beads.
    1. (derogatory) Preceded by the word the: the mainstream culture, controlled by the elites or government of a state, or a combination of them, seen as oppressive to the individual.
      • 1986, Madonna; Stephen Bray; Patrick Leonard (lyrics and music), “Where's the Party”, in True Blue, performed by Madonna:
        Don't want to grow old too fast / Don't want to let the system get me down / I've got to find a way to make the good times last / And if you'll show me how, I'm ready now
    2. (computing) A set of hardware and software operating in a computer.
    3. (mathematics) A set of equations involving the same variables, which are to be solved simultaneously.
    4. (music) A set of staves linked by a brace that indicate instruments or sounds that are to be played simultaneously.
    5. (physiology) A set of body organs having a particular function.
      the digestive system  the nervous system
    6. A set of alters, or the multiple (individual with multiple personalities due to e.g. a disassociative personality disorder) who contains them.
      • 1995, Stephen E. Braude, First Person Plural: Multiple Personality and the Philosophy of Mind, Rowman & Littlefield (→ISBN), page 56:
        But that alter often turns out to be relatively recent and fairly peripheral in the multiple's total system of alters.
      • 2017, Patricia Frankish, Valerie Sinason, Holistic Therapy for People with Dissociative Identity Disorder (→ISBN), page 79:
        [] I was initially very worried that I would offend the system by missing when switches occurred, or even misidentify [...]
  2. A method or way of organizing or planning.
    Many people believed communism was a good system until the breakup of the Soviet Union.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, “In which Fortune Seems to have been in a Better Humour with Jones than We have hitherto Seen Her”, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. In Six Volumes, volume IV, London: Printed by A[ndrew] Millar, [], OCLC 928184292, book VIII, page 253:
      But ſo Matters fell out, and ſo I muſt relate them; and if any Reader is ſhocked at their appearing unnatural, I cannot help it. I must remind ſuch Persons, that I am not writing a Syſtem, but a Hiſtory, and I am not obliged to reconcile every Matter to the received Notions concerning Truth and Nature.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, OCLC 5661828, pages 13–14:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, but I would not go out of my way to protest against it. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. I would very gladly make mine over to him if I could.
    • 2012 March–April, John T[homas] Jost, “Social Justice: Is It in Our Nature (and Our Future)?”, in American Scientist[2], volume 100, number 2, archived from the original on 21 June 2017, page 162:
      He draws eclectically on studies of baboons, descriptive anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies and, in a few cases, the fossil record. With this biological framework in place, [Peter] Corning endeavors to show that the capitalist system as currently practiced in the United States and elsewhere is manifestly unfair.

Usage notes[edit]

In attributive use, especially relating to computer systems, the plural is more common than the singular; one normally speaks of a systems engineer and not a system engineer.

Synonyms[edit]

Hyponyms[edit]

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Translations[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Danish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From late Latin systēma, from Ancient Greek σύστημα (sústēma, organised whole, body), from σύν (sún, with, together) + ἵστημι (hístēmi, I stand).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /systeːm/, [syˈsd̥eːˀm]

Noun[edit]

system n (singular definite systemet, plural indefinite systemer)

  1. system

Declension[edit]

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References[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English system

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

system m (plural systems)

  1. Word used in star system.

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek σύστημα (sústēma)

Noun[edit]

system n (definite singular systemet, indefinite plural system or systemer, definite plural systema or systemene)

  1. a system

Derived terms[edit]

References[edit]


Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Ancient Greek σύστημα (sústēma)

Noun[edit]

system n (definite singular systemet, indefinite plural system, definite plural systema)

  1. system

Derived terms[edit]

References[edit]


Polish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

system m inan

  1. system

Declension[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • system in Polish dictionaries at PWN

Swedish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

system n

  1. a system, a way or method of organizing items and knowledge
  2. a computer system (primarily its hardware)
  3. a system of restricted sales of alcohol, including state-owned monopoly shops

Declension[edit]

Declension of system 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative system systemet system systemen
Genitive systems systemets systems systemens

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Welsh[edit]

Noun[edit]

system f (plural systemau)

  1. system, method

Related terms[edit]