Borrowed from French échelon (“rung; echelon”), from échelle (“ladder”) + -on (“suffix forming diminutives”). Échelle is derived from Latin scāla (“ladder”), from scandō (“to ascend, climb”), from Proto-Indo-European to jump.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɛʃəlɒn/, /ˈeɪ-/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɛʃəˌlɑn/
- Hyphenation: ech‧e‧lon
echelon (plural echelons)
- A level or rank in an organization, profession, or society.
- (cycling) A line of riders seeking maximum drafting in a crosswind, resulting in a diagonal line across the road.
- (military) A formation of troops, ships, etc., in diagonal parallel rows. [from late 18th c.]