A system is made up of several elements that are related to each other to achieve a common goal. The structure and components involved in this process can be physical or conceptual.

System definition: What is it?

It is a complete mechanism that has various parts that work together to achieve an end. The systems are characterized by being highly ordered both materially and conceptually. Its function generally depends on the scope where it is applied and its composition.

A system usually has several components. However, there are three basic elements. The first is the inputs, which are those data or instruments that enter the system. Then there is the process, which is where the inputs are altered to finally move on to the outputs. These are the last module and it is where the results of the whole cycle are obtained.

That process can be divided mainly into two categories: conceptual and real. Conceptual systems involve ideas, concepts, theories, symbols and other elements related to thought. An example is musical notation. Instead, real systems are those that are made up of a tangible structure, such as the human body.


The word "system" comes from the Latin “system” (union of things in an organized way). ), which derives from the Greek σύστημα. It is made up of συν (syn = together), ιστημι (hístemi = establish, set up). Enlarging the suffix -μα, indicating instrumental, medium, result. Many others are derived from this word, such as “ecosystem”, “geosystem”, “anti-system” or “systematization”.

Common uses

This term is generally used to refer to a set of ordered elements. This is a very common word that is used on a daily basis in various contexts and professional fields, such as science.

A group of ordered objects that work together to achieve something or form a link can be called a “system”. For example, you can mention the solar system or the mechanical system of a device.

It can also be used to refer to a set of organized rules that form a scientific specialty or a body of doctrine. An example of this is the astronomical system.

Another way of using the word is to designate a series of actions that seek a common goal. A clear example of these types is the educational system, the surveillance system or the health system.

Words similar to system

  • Method. Its meaning is close to the word “system”. It is defined as the process followed to achieve a specific result. It is often used in various fields, such as education, where the scientific method is taught.

  • Plan. It is an ordered strategy that is used to achieve a certain objective. Planning is a daily activity that can be applied in any field. It can be said that it is a system organized in advance.

  • Procedure. It is the way in which one or several simultaneous activities are carried out that seek to reach a previously defined goal. Like systems, a procedure usually has various elements that can be physical or conceptual.

  • Norm. It is a principle that is imposed for the correct performance of an activity. This term is associated with the word “system”.This is because both establish the correct way to develop a certain action, following a series of calculated and ordered steps

Antonyms of system

  • Disorganized. It is an adjective used to refer to the absence of order, either in a person or an action. . It can be considered an antonym of the word "system", since this is a procedure that implies organization and precision.

Other data of interest

There is a philosophical current known as “systemism”. It was developed by Mario Bunge, an Argentine epistemologist. He himself held the idea that everything is a system or a component of a system. From that theory he developed the belief that all sciences, except physics, study some kind of system.

The ability of systems to self-regulate and adapt to external changes is known as “homeostasis”. For example, there is the body's ability to regulate body temperature and thus adapt to climate changes.


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