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”).
hierarchy (plural hierarchies)
- 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.
- A social, religious, economic or political system or organization in which people or groups of people are ranked with some superior to others based on their status, authority or some other trait.
- Any group of objects ranked so that every one but the topmost is subordinate to a specified one above it.
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