- any system of persons or things ranked one above another.
- government by ecclesiastical rulers.
- the power or dominion of a hierarch.
- an organized body of ecclesiastical officials in successive ranks or orders: the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
- one of the three divisions of the angels, each made up of three orders, conceived as constituting a graded body.
- Also called celestial hierarchy. the collective body of angels.
- government by an elite group.
- Linguistics. the system of levels according to which a language is organized, as phonemic, morphemic, syntactic, or semantic.
Origin of hierarchy
Examples from the Web for hierarchy
Absolutely: “Courage I would rank now in the hierarchy of art and love.”Mailer’s Letters Pack a Punch and a Surprising Degree of Sweetness
Ronald K. Fried
December 14, 2014
It was, I have to say, at the bottom of the hierarchy of royal honors, a British Empire Medal.I Saw Nuclear Armageddon Sitting on My Desk
November 10, 2014
A strong sense of hierarchy took root as the schools expanded.At This Creepy Libertarian Charter School, Kids Must Swear ‘to Be Obedient to Those in Authority’
October 15, 2014
Powell ranks with Patrick Smith in the hierarchy of Florida historical novelists and that is lofty territory, indeed.Book Bag: Overlooked Classic Books From the Sunshine State
Randy Wayne White
September 30, 2014
In the hierarchy of medical issues that carry stigma and fear, HPV has a unique place.The Silent Shame of HPV
August 29, 2014
There is no hierarchy in Buddhism: it is a religion of absolute freedom.The Soul of a People
Army, state, and hierarchy were its visible representatives.The Ethics of Coperation
James Hayden Tufts
Nowhere do you find a hierarchy more prevalent than among them.The Nabob
The hierarchy was as imposing as in Spain, and its dominion and influence greater.The Land We Live In
He was a practical man who meant to increase the power of the hierarchy.Folkways
William Graham Sumner
- a system of persons or things arranged in a graded order
- a body of persons in holy orders organized into graded ranks
- the collective body of those so organized
- a series of ordered groupings within a system, such as the arrangement of plants and animals into classes, orders, families, etc
- linguistics maths a formal structure, usually represented by a diagram of connected nodes, with a single uppermost elementCompare ordering, heterarchy, tree (def. 6)
- government by an organized priesthood
Word Origin and History for hierarchy
mid-14c., from Old French ierarchie, from Medieval Latin hierarchia "ranked division of angels" (in the system of Dionysius the Areopagite), from Greek hierarkhia "rule of a high priest," from hierarkhes "high priest, leader of sacred rites," from ta hiera "the sacred rites" (neuter plural of hieros "sacred;" see ire) + arkhein "to lead, rule" (see archon). Sense of "ranked organization of persons or things" first recorded 1610s, initially of clergy, sense probably influenced by higher. Related: Hierarchal; hierarchical.