From Old French ierarchie (French hiérarchie), from Latin hierarchia, from Ancient Greek ἱεραρχία ‎(hierarkhía, rule of a high priest), from ἱεράρχης ‎(hierárkhēs, high priest), from ἱερός ‎(hierós, holy) and ἄρχω ‎(árkhō, I rule).


  • IPA(key): /ˈhaɪə.ɹɑː.kɪ/, /ˈhaɪɹ.ɑːɹ.kɪ/
  • (file)


hierarchy ‎(plural hierarchies)

  1. A body of authoritative officials organized in nested ranks.
    • 2013 August 10, Lexington, “Keeping the mighty honest”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      The [Washington] Post's proprietor through those turbulent [Watergate] days, Katharine Graham, held a double place in Washington’s hierarchy: at once regal Georgetown hostess and scrappy newshound, ready to hold the establishment to account.
  2. Any group of objects ranked so that every one but the topmost is subordinate to a specified one above it.

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