verb (used with or without object)
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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
Example sentences from the Web for echelon
The view may look bright at the top GOP echelon, but that does not appear to be the attitude of the rank and file.
The echelon below were 18-year-old Olders, overseeing Babies and Tinies as young as 10 in the final rung.
I think Tina is the first woman who has gotten into that echelon.
By placing the squadrons of horse and the light batteries in echelon, the retiring column may be well protected.
But at one hundred feet aloft the fliers braked their headlong flight, hovered motionlessly in echelon formation.Slaves of Mercury|Nat Schachner
The echelon order possesses in general very great advantages.
Arrayed line beyond line in echelon, ten thousand pinions beat, in unison—beat in short, sharp strokes from the elbow.Unexplored Spain|Abel Chapman
The phalanx moved forward slowly, and slowly went into an echelon formation, each division slightly ahead of the one following.Adaptation|Dallas McCord Reynolds
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