noun, plural hi·er·ar·chies.
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Origin of hierarchy
historical usage of hierarchy
The Medieval Latin word originally meant “rank or dignity of a hierarch (high-ranking religious leader)” in a system devised in the late 5th or early 6th century by the mystical theologian and philosopher Pseudo-Dionysius. The Greek word hierarchía is formed from hierós “holy, dedicated to a god, sacred, strong, excellent, glorious” and a derivative of the verb árchein “to be first, begin, rule.”
The earliest occurrence of hierarchy in English dates from the late 14th century in the sense “one of the three divisions of the angels into higher and lower ranks.” This meaning was quickly extended to other supernatural entities, and finally, in the 16th century, to “rule or dominion in holy matters, rule or government by priests, a system of ecclesiastical rule.” The sense “a group of people, plants, animals, or things ranked in grades, orders, or classes” dates from the 17th century.
OTHER WORDS FROM hierarchyan·ti·hi·er·ar·chy, noun, plural an·ti·hi·er·ar·chies, adjective
Example sentences from the Web for hierarchy
They double down on the plot device of a lone visionary opposed by conventional hierarchies.
They structured themselves not in vertical hierarchies but in networks, each member responding to conditions on the ground.
She may not fit in in high school, but she lives in a world where adolescent hierarchies are less important than ever.In Praise of ‘Awkward’: OMFG MTV, Like, Really Gets High School|Amy Zimmerman|June 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Often, therefore, economic hierarchies take shape as society undergoes the “natural transition” from aristocracy to democracy.Today’s Wonky Elite Is in Love With the Wrong French Intellectual|James Poulos|April 23, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Materials and mediums are interchangeable—a metaphor, we learn, for mixing and breaking hierarchies of race, class, and more.Saatchi Resurrects Ancient Pangaea with Show Featuring South American and African Artists|Chloë Ashby|April 4, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The first living organisms formed their hierarchies thus: individual unicellular, or plastide; group of plastides or meride.The Natural Philosophy of Love|Remy de Gourmont
In the ninth heaven is a manifestation of the Divine Essence, viewed by three hierarchies of Angels.From the Thames to the Tiber|J. Wardle
The conservative party established the reverend hierarchies and monarchies of the most ancient world.The Library and Society|Various
The musty wardrobes of forgotten hierarchies furnished costumes for the officers of the new prince.The Cradle of the Christ|Octavius Brooks Frothingham
The hierarchies of the soul's dominion belong only to man, and it is right they should.