[hahy-uh-rahrk, hahy-rahrk]


a person who rules or has authority in sacred matters; high priest.
a person having high position or considerable authority.
one of a body of officials or minor priests in certain ancient Greek temples.

Origin of hierarch

1480–90; < Medieval Latin hierarcha < Greek hierárchēs steward of sacred rites, equivalent to hier- hier- + -archēs -arch
Related formshi·er·ar·chal, adjectivean·ti·hi·er·ar·chal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hierarchal

Contemporary Examples of hierarchal

  • Some of that must surely be because of tradition and formality, but there is also an element of the hierarchal at work.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Herman Cain's Power Suit

    Robin Givhan

    November 4, 2011

Historical Examples of hierarchal

British Dictionary definitions for hierarchal



  1. a person in a position of high priestly authority
  2. a person holding high rank in a religious hierarchy
a person at a high level in a hierarchy
Derived Formshierarchal, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hierarchal

1640s, from hierarch + -al (1).



1570s, from Medieval Latin hierarcha, from Greek hierarkhes "leader of sacred rites, high priest" (see hierarchy).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper