Difference Between Systemic and Systematic

The term “System” is used to describe a group of principles or interrelated elements according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method. Sometimes it’s described as the organization or plan itself. Systemic and Systematic are broadly used as adjectives, however, it has come from the noun word “system” but the meaning of both words are distinct.

Systemic vs Systematic

The main difference between a Systemic and a Systematic is that a Systemic refers to which affects an entire system or relates to the system whereas Systematic is a more common pair of both; it is most commonly used to describe anything which is done with a plan of action or defined method or system.

Systemic vs Systematic

Systemic is an adjective that is primarily used to describe what relates or affects the entire system. It’s broadly used to describe some phenomena, be it a societal problem or an illness; that affects every part of an entire system. As we saw in our first section it could also mean a group of parts or things that come together to form a whole which gives a sense of the system.

Systematic is also used as an adjective, however, more commonly used and often used to describe anything that uses or puts in a careful system or that is done according to some set of defined rules or principles. It could be best described as methodical which is also a synonym for the word systematic.

Comparison Table between Systemic and Systematic

Parameter of comparisonSystemicSystematic
DefinitionSomething which relates to or affects the entire system.
Ex: an illness affects the entire human physical system
Something which is done with a plan of action or defined method or system.
Ex: Plan of action to clean house rather starting randomly
PurposeTo explain the root cause in the physical or social system.To describe the approach to solving any problem in a methodical way.
EtymologyOriginated from the English word System + ic and first used in the early centuryOriginated from the late Latin word systematicus and first used in the 17th century
Synonyms Ingrained, pervasiveMethodical, Organized

A medicine, disease, or poison reaches and has an effect on the whole of a body or a plant and not just one part of it.Organizing your bookshelf by categorizing the books in fiction and non-fiction type.

What is Systemic?

Systemic is directly related to the whole instead of just part. The word systemic originated in 1803 from the word system + ic which is formed in an irregular manner. The term was first used in medicine and biology for differentiation of meaning from systematic.

Systemic is an adjective which is related to a system. This word is mainly used to explain some phenomena like societa, an organisational or physical problem which directly affect the entire system. Systemic disease affects the entire body or organism, systemic change in organization affects the entire organization. Systemic is used when we talk about something which affects the whole. 

It also helps to know little history and anatomy. In biology, it can refer to the entire organism. In medicine, it is used for drugs and diseases which affect the whole body. For example: there are many types of cancer which affect the entire human system. 

We can also use coronavirus as an example which weakens our immune system. To describe the corruption as systemic, is to say that corruption is perpetuated by the system in power, so someone who is looking for a change wants the basic fundamentals of practices of the system to change.

 What is Systematic?

Systematic is a very common word. This word is used to explain that something is completed in a proper method according to the system. This is something planned or arranged in an ordered system. So if something is done in a systematic way, then that will be organised or structured in some way. 

The word systematic originated in the 1670s from french systématique or from Late Latin systematicus, from Greek systematikos. Systematic is an adjective which is characterized by order and planning. In biology, this word is used for naming and classifying organisms regarding their species, higher taxa, natural relationship, etc. 

As part of daily chores we perform quite a methodical way to complete a task or job unknowingly, like cleaning a kitchen, organizing the books on a bookshelf or categorizing our work email; gmail is classic example of systematic wherein it uses set of principles to categorize all incoming emails into different section such as inbox  spam, junk which help us to read only the important one’s.

Main Differences Between Systemic and Systematic

The word systemic is very similar to the word systematic in both sound and sense. Both the words are based on system wherein systemic could also mean a group of parts that comes together and form whole which gives a sense of system whereas systematic could be understood as method or system itself to achieve our goal.

  1. Systemic and Systematic both come from the root word system which originated from ancient Greek word that describe the organized whole which is in multiple parts.
  2. Both the words have different meanings
  3. Systematic is a much older and more common word than systemic.
  4. Systemic word came later in the early 1800s in english whereas systematic arose in english in the 1670s.
  5. Systemic is firstly coined by doctors to describe something that happens throughout the whole biological system whereas systematic describes something methodical or according to plan.


As we say systemic and systematic both originated from the word system and are used as an adjective however the meaning of them are quite distinct.

The word systemic is used to describe what’s affecting or connected with the whole of something; specially the human body which was originally used by the doctors as anatomy in early 19th century whereas systematic is more common word in pair which gives us a sense of something which is done in organised fashion or done using fixed plan or method.

Ex: Cancer could be a systemic disease which affects the entire human body whereas chemotherapy could be referred to as a methodical way to treat the cancer.


  1. https://www.learntechlib.org/p/164920/
  2. https://thorax.bmj.com/content/59/7/574.short
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