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[ek-oh-sis-tuh m, ee-koh-] /ˈɛk oʊˌsɪs təm, ˈi koʊ-/
noun, Ecology
a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.
any system or network of interconnecting and interacting parts, as in a business: The success of Apple’s ecosystem depends on hardware/software integration.
Manufacturers, retailers, and customers are all part of the automotive industry’s ecosystem.
1930-35; eco- + system
Can be confused Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ecosystems
  • And there are places on the planet that show us that it is possible to have healthy ecosystems with the right kind of management.
  • Change in water ecosystems is constant who knows what tomorrow brings, rain or no rain.
  • They fragment ecosystems, send species into extinction and may even trigger earthquakes.
  • It also leaves a salty residue causing pollution and opening the ecosystems up for new invasive species.
  • The development of sustainable tourism helps ensure that the delicate ecosystems are there for future generations to enjoy.
  • Some zip lines take you through environments and ecosystems that would otherwise be inaccessible.
  • Visitors must be careful not to touch the butterflies or disturb their ecosystems, as both are fragile.
  • These ecosystems provide the basis for diverse landscapes, animal and plant life, and activities.
  • Kids can participate in interpretive hikes that explore the park's ecosystems and wildlife.
  • Predators are the quintessential thing that keeps ecosystems running the way they are.
British Dictionary definitions for ecosystems


/ˈiːkəʊˌsɪstəm; ˈɛkəʊ-/
(ecology) a system involving the interactions between a community of living organisms in a particular area and its nonliving environment
Word Origin
C20: from eco(logy) + system
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ecosystems



1935; see eco- + system. Perhaps coined by English ecologist Sir Arthur George Tansley (1871-1955).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ecosystems in Medicine

ecosystem ec·o·sys·tem (ěk'ō-sĭs'təm, ē'kō-)
An ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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ecosystems in Science
A community of organisms together with their physical environment, viewed as a system of interacting and interdependent relationships and including such processes as the flow of energy through trophic levels and the cycling of chemical elements and compounds through living and nonliving components of the system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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ecosystems in Culture
ecosystem [(ee-koh-sis-tuhm, ek-oh-sis-tuhm)]

A collection of living things and the environment in which they live. For example, a prairie ecosystem includes coyotes, the rabbits on which they feed, and the grasses that feed the rabbits.

Note: Chemical substances move through ecosystems on the Earth in cycles (see carbon cycle).
Note: The source of energy for almost every ecosystem on Earth is the sun.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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