from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An ecological community together with its environment, functioning as a unit.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A system formed by an ecological community and its environment that functions as a unit.
  • n. The interconnectedness of organisms (plants, animals, microbes) with each other and their environment.
  • n. A set of interconnected products and services.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a system formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their physical environment


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • "All around |Walter| Cannon, theorists were thrilling to the idea of self-righting systems, resistant to the buffeting forces of change. The English botanist Arthur Tansley coined the word “ecosystem” in 1935; the maintenance of stability would soon be described as one of the cardinal properties of ecologies. Soon economists were relating homeostasis to self-correcting markets; Norbert Wiener, the mathematician, saw that machines and creatures might be governed by autonomous control systems stabilized by “feedback” loops. Cells, cities, societies, even political institutions—all had the capacity to steady their states through the actions of self-regulated and counterpoised forces."

    -- "My Father’s Body, at Rest and in Motion" by Siddhartha Mukherjee (

    January 4, 2018