hierarchy

[hahy-uh-rahr-kee, hahy-rahr-]
noun, plural hierarchies.
1.
any system of persons or things ranked one above another.
2.
government by ecclesiastical rulers.
3.
the power or dominion of a hierarch.
4.
an organized body of ecclesiastical officials in successive ranks or orders: the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
5.
one of the three divisions of the angels, each made up of three orders, conceived as constituting a graded body.
6.
Also called celestial hierarchy. the collective body of angels.
7.
government by an elite group.
8.
Linguistics. the system of levels according to which a language is organized, as phonemic, morphemic, syntactic, or semantic.

Origin:
1300–50; < Medieval Latin hierarchia < Late Greek hierarchía rule or power of the high priest, equivalent to hier- hier- + archía -archy; replacing Middle English jerarchie < Middle French ierarchie < Medieval Latin ierarchia, variant of hierarchia

antihierarchy, noun, plural antihierarchies, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
hierarchy (ˈhaɪəˌrɑːkɪ)
 
n , pl -chies
1.  a system of persons or things arranged in a graded order
2.  a body of persons in holy orders organized into graded ranks
3.  the collective body of those so organized
4.  a series of ordered groupings within a system, such as the arrangement of plants and animals into classes, orders, families, etc
5.  linguistics, maths ordering heterarchy Compare tree a formal structure, usually represented by a diagram of connected nodes, with a single uppermost element
6.  government by an organized priesthood
 
[C14: from Medieval Latin hierarchia, from Late Greek hierarkhia, from hierarkhēs high priest; see hiero-, -archy]
 
hier'archical
 
adj
 
hier'archic
 
adj
 
hier'archically
 
adv
 
'hierarchism
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

hierarchy
c.1343, from O.Fr. ierarchie, from M.L. hierarchia "ranked division of angels" (in the system of Dionysius the Areopagite), from Gk. hierarchia "rule of a high priest," from hierarches "high priest, leader of sacred rites," from ta hiera "the sacred rites" (neut. pl. of hieros "sacred") + archein "to
lead, rule." Sense of "ranked organization of persons or things" first recorded 1619, initially of clergy, probably infl. by higher.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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FOLDOC
Computing Dictionary

hierarchy definition


An organisation with few things, or one thing, at the top and with several things below each other thing. An inverted tree structure. Examples in computing include a directory hierarchy where each directory may contain files or other directories; a hierarchical network (see hierarchical routing), a class hierarchy in object-oriented programming.
(1994-10-11)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
It was an age in which social hierarchy was considered a reflection of the
  divine order of the universe.
Nonetheless, in the hierarchy of serious spirits, single malt Scotch whiskey
  still rules.
What is missing here is social science research on the hierarchy of the values.
Roman citizens sat according to their place in the social hierarchy.
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