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hierarchy

[hahy-uh-rahr-kee, hahy-rahr-] /ˈhaɪ əˌrɑr ki, ˈhaɪ rɑr-/
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
1300-1350
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
Related forms
antihierarchy, noun, plural antihierarchies, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for hierarchy
  • 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.
  • With the advent of agriculture and writing in Mesopotamia came social hierarchy.
  • The familiar bright colors of Indian textiles were once used to represent hierarchy in social standing.
  • The gist is that higher education is built around hierarchy, order, and stability.
  • There is an unofficial hierarchy among photo galleries, and the oldest tend to be at the top of the heap.
  • They found that the higher up someone was in the social hierarchy, the more aggressive they were as a bully.
  • On the other hand, there is a hierarchy among tutelary and ancestral gods.
British Dictionary definitions for hierarchy

hierarchy

/ˈhaɪəˌrɑːkɪ/
noun (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) a formal structure, usually represented by a diagram of connected nodes, with a single uppermost element Compare ordering, heterarchy, tree (sense 6)
6.
government by an organized priesthood
Derived Forms
hierarchical, hierarchic, adjective
hierarchically, adverb
hierarchism, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin hierarchia, from Late Greek hierarkhia, from hierarkhēs high priest; see hiero-, -archy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hierarchy
n.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hierarchy in Technology


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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20
18
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