tier

1 [teer]
noun
1.
one of a series of rows or ranks rising one behind or above another, as of seats in an amphitheater, boxes in a theater, guns in a man-of-war, or oars in an ancient galley.
2.
one of a number of galleries, as in a theater.
3.
a layer; level; stratum: The wedding cake had six tiers. All three tiers of the firm's management now report to one director.
4.
Australian. a mountain range.
verb (used with object)
5.
to arrange in tiers.
verb (used without object)
6.
to rise in tiers.

Origin:
1560–70; earlier also tire, tyre, teare < Middle French, Old French tire, tiere order, row, rank < Germanic; compare Old English, Old Saxon tīr, Old High German zēri glory, adornment

Dictionary.com Unabridged

tier

2 [tahy-er]
noun
1.
a person or thing that ties.
2.
Nautical. a short rope or band for securing a furled sail.
3.
New England. a child's apron or pinafore.

Origin:
1625–35; tie + -er1

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tier1 (tɪə)
 
n
1.  one of a set of rows placed one above and behind the other, such as theatre seats
2.  a.  a layer or level
 b.  (in combination): a three-tier cake
3.  a rank, order, or row
 
vb
4.  to be or arrange in tiers
 
[C16: from Old French tire rank, of Germanic origin; compare Old English tīr embellishment]

tier2 (ˈtaɪə)
 
n
a person or thing that ties

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

tier
"row, rank, range," 1569, from M.Fr. tire, from O.Fr. tire "rank, sequence, order" (c.1210), probably from tirer "to draw, draw out" (see tirade). Some suggests the O.Fr. noun is from a Gmc. source akin to O.H.G. ziari, Ger. Zier "adornment," O.E. tir "glory, honor."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Most often clipped as hedge or shaped into globes, tiers, pyramids in
  containers.
Train as for a central leader, but stop upright growth, usually after two or
  three tiers of scaffold branches.
Another was, until recently, a tall dessert that rose in tiers of flaky pastry
  and creamy filling.
When top level predators are removed, the middle predators devastate the lower
  tiers of the food chain.
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