Difference between Systemic and Systematic

Updated on June 28, 2018

Due to similarities in semantics and sound, the terms “systemic” and “systematic” are often used interchangeably. However, the two are completely different in terms of meaning and usage.

Summary Table

SystemicSystematic
Suffix: -icSuffix: -atic
Has three syllablesHas four syllables
Frequently used in the medical field and in anything that affects an entire system such as an organization, a market, or a groupFrequently used in scientific experiments, business planning, and in any field that requires a methodical approach
Less frequently usedMore frequently used
Has a narrower definitionHas a broader definition

Definitions

blood system

Systemic is an adjective that means system-wide. It is used to describe anything that creates an overall impact on the system of the body, a group, or a process.

procedure

Systematic, on the other hand, is an adjective used to describe an organized or a methodological procedure, process, or system.

Systemic vs Systematic

Despite their strong association, there is a huge difference between systemic and systematic.

Suffix and Syllables

A notable similarity between the terms “systemic” and “systematic” is their Latin root, systema, which means “system.” However, differences in their suffixes led to a complete change in their meaning. The suffix used for systemic is -ic, which means “characterized by” or “related to,” while the suffix for systematic is -atic, which means “the nature of.” Additionally, the word “systemic” only has three syllables while the term “systematic” has four syllables.

Usage

Since they greatly differ in meaning, systemic and systematic are adjectives used for different purposes. The word “systemic” is mostly used in the medical field to refer to the parts of the body that receive blood supply via the aorta. It also pertains to internal diseases that affect bodily systems. For instance, if a disease is systemic, it means that it affects the entire body, not just parts of it. Aside from its use in the medical field, systemic also describes anything that affects an entire system such as an organization, a market, or a group.

The term “systematic,” on the other hand, typically pertains to a carefully-planned procedure. It is frequently used in scientific experiments, business planning, and in any field that requires a methodical approach. For example, when describing a step-by-step procedure or a cycle, the word “systematic” can be used as a replacement for “step-by-step.”

Frequency of Use

Between the two adjectives, systematic is a more frequently-used word since systemic has a technical and scientific connotation.

Scope

Unlike systematic, systemic has a narrower definition as it directly pertains to anything that is engraved into or built into a particular system. Systematic, by contrast, has a broader meaning and is safer to use in times of doubt.

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