Origin of echelon
historical usage of echelon
Ironically, while echelon entered English in a military context, it was the first and second World Wars that extended the meaning to other, nonmilitary, sectors. During World War I, the term took on a more generalized sense of a “level” or “subdivision”; World War II broadened echelon’s usage to describe grades and ranks in professions outside the military.
At the same time, English speakers started using echelon to classify institutions or persons they held in high esteem by referring to them as part of the “upper” or “top” echelon. With this in mind, the phrase “social climber” conjures up the image of people who wish to ascend through the various ladder rungs of society until they reach the top.
popular references for echelon
—Row echelon form: In linear algebra, a simplified form of a matrix in which each non-zero row has more leading zeros than the previous row.
—ECHELON: Code name of a global surveillance system developed by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). It operates by intercepting and processing international communications transmitted via communications satellites.
—Third Echelon: A fictional sub-group of the NSA created by Tom Clancy in his Splinter Cell book series.
OTHER WORDS FROM echelonech·e·lon·ment, noun
Words nearby echelon
How to use echelon in a sentence
Baron has worked in the upper echelons of newsrooms throughout his career.
Arguably, the more truly premium stuff that gets produced by Hollywood for streaming — in other words, the more these services represent the higher echelon of Hollywood — the better it is for us.‘I believe enough in this to try to do it myself’: CollegeHumor owner Sam Reich on the brand’s future potential|Pierre Bienaimé|December 1, 2020|Digiday
The industry commonly recycles ideas, and designers from its lowest ranks to its upper echelons look to the past for tomorrow’s concepts.Is fashion doomed to repeat itself?|Marc Bain|October 28, 2020|Quartz
At the upper echelons of the sport, where every move counts, there’s pressure on athletes to do all they can to make themselves stronger, while also getting smaller and lighter.The Climbers Speaking Up About Eating Disorders|Outside Editors|October 22, 2020|Outside Online
The highest echelon of TikTokers can charge up to $200,000 per post, but those who have follower counts in the range of 1 million to 5 million typically charge between $5,000 and $15,000.How a TikTok house destroyed itself|Rebecca Jennings|October 1, 2020|Vox
Are you allowed to write about battle from the rear echelon?Who Has the Right to Write About War?|Emily Gray Tedrowe|July 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The film is going to be a huge critical and commercial hit, vaulting Stoller into the upper echelon of Hollywood comedy directors.
Mississippi also moves out of the lower echelon solidly improving to 41st from 46th on its rock-bottom costs.South Dakota Is 2013 Top State for Business|CNBC|July 9, 2013|DAILY BEAST
To Connolly and Morris, Bulger was a TE, or top-echelon informant, the highest designation in the Bureau for a snitch.‘You’re a F—cking Liar’: Whitey Bulger and the FBI’s Sordid History|T.J. English|July 1, 2013|DAILY BEAST
But as part of that top echelon of defense officials, Diskin participated in almost all the meetings where Iran was discussed.Former Shin Bet Chief Slams Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak Over Iran|Dan Ephron|January 4, 2013|DAILY BEAST
They did a lazy circle of the room, swung into an echelon and performed a slow chandelle, before dropping into Bobby's hand.What Rough Beast?|Jefferson Highe
I couldn't quite see the stratified society outlined by Scholar Phelps as holding a position open for her in the top echelon.Highways in Hiding|George Oliver Smith
The cuirassiers getting into line first, charged at once, the 16th following in echelon.
Portions of his forces were arranged in echelon in some of his other battles.Elements of Military Art and Science|Henry Wager Halleck
I ordered him to wheel his brigades to the left, to advance in echelon, and to catch the enemy in flank.The Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman, Complete|William T. Sherman
British Dictionary definitions for echelon
- a formation in which units follow one another but are offset sufficiently to allow each unit a line of fire ahead
- a group formed in this way