All those "systems":

  • 系统,
  • 体系
  • 制度
  • 体制
  • 装置

How one should differentiate between them? I think that

  1. 系统 has something to do with unite, gather, tangle flavor. So this word is a bit abstract. Should be used for "systems" which might NOT have a physical representation.
  2. 体系 has somethign to do with body + unite. For systems "bodies". With physical representation?
  3. ....

I almost certaitly think my interpretation is wrong. Help!!!

  • 小马词典: 系统:神经系统,循环系统,操作系统,呼吸系统,消化系统 体系:思想体系,经济体系 制度:system (e.g. political, administrative etc); institution; CL:个:经济制度,奴隶制度,会计制度, 体制:system; organization:政治体制,经济体制 装置:to install; installation; equipment; system; unit; device:传动装置transmission (i.e. gears),引爆装置detonator
    – user6065
    Feb 20, 2016 at 11:24
  • thanks. Ok I got the difference between 系统 and 制度. But what's the difference between 体制 and 体系. Is it the emphasis on "control" which is the main point here? If so then what is the difference between 制度 and 体制 ?
    – coobit
    Feb 20, 2016 at 11:50
  • see E-C dictionaries,e.g.iciba, it is a matter of collocation, translation of N+system, depends on category to which N belongs, specific collocation in dictionaries
    – user6065
    Feb 20, 2016 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


装置 'device' doesn't really belong here. Here are some definitions from the 教育部國語辭典:

系统: 同類事物,按一定秩序相連屬,而自成一整體
"objects/affairs belonging to the same category, joined together in a specific order to form a unity."
The emphasis is on order, thus can be used to form adjectivals such as 很有系統 "very systematic"

體系: 由許多要素構成,具有一定條理組合成的整體。如:「哲學體系」
"a unity formed from numerous elements which have a connecting principle, such as 'philosophical system.'" The emphasis is on the underlying unity of the elements, hence principles.

"a code for the conduct of affairs established by common understanding and agreement." The emphasis is on how things are done, hence this is commonly used with political affairs.

體制: 一定的規則、制度. "fixed rules; a system of operation." The emphasis is on the set nature of the system. This can also be used for written formats.


You can speak this collocation like '改革教育体制', but if you speak '?改革教育体系', it sounds weird. If you speak 建立知识体系,it sounds natural. But if you speak ?建立知识体制, it is unacceptable. Based on these, I think, control as addressed above is the key factor for 体制, and 体系 seems to be a type of summary knowledge.

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