echelon1 of 2
: an arrangement of a body of troops with its units each somewhat to the left or right of the one in the rear like a series of steps
: a formation of units or individuals resembling such an echelon
geese flying in echelon
: a flight formation in which each airplane flies at a certain elevation above or below and at a certain distance behind and to the right or left of the airplane ahead
: any of several military units in echelon formation
also : any unit or group acting in a disciplined or organized manner
served in a combat echelon
: one of a series of levels or grades in an organization or field of activity
involved employees at every echelon
: a group of individuals at a particular level or grade in an organization or field of activity
the upper echelons of management
echeloned; echeloning; echelons
: to form or arrange in an echelon
: to take position in an echelon
Noun the lower echelons of the bureaucracy We heard stories of corruption in the upper echelons of the firm.
Recent Examples on the Web
NounLeo, a New Jersey Roman Catholic and grandson of an Italian immigrant who worked for Brooks Brothers, hobnobs around the upper echelons of American power in natty suits with vests and a pocket watch on a gold chain. —Nina Burleigh, The New Republic, 16 May 2023 Verdugo and Yoshida are in the top-10 in the early batting race featuring nine AL East players in the upper echelon so far. —Larry Fleisher, Forbes, 7 May 2023 The run is not only his biggest yet, but one that firmly places him in the elite echelon of electronic artists who can play arenas, stadiums and amphitheaters, venues that few acts in this genre ultimately reach. —Rachel Narozniak, Billboard, 3 May 2023 At a time when segregation was still widespread and Black faces were still a rarity on screens large and small, Mr. Belafonte’s ascent to the upper echelon of show business was historic. —Peter Keepnews, New York Times, 25 Apr. 2023 He’s got an opportunity right now to get ready to join the top echelon of superstars, but that means making the guys around him better. —Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 17 Mar. 2023 In a Western Conference that’s seemingly wide-open, the Mavericks have now made a move that could separate them from the middle of the pack and push them toward the upper echelon of contenders in the West. —Dallas News, 6 Feb. 2023 But the way the Crimson Tide were run out of the gym by Oklahoma, which is most assuredly not among the Big 12’s upper echelon this season, had to be quite vexing for coach Nate Oats and his staff as the team was completely uninterested in playing defense. —Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, 30 Jan. 2023 Few reach the highest echelons of American politics without leaving a record to be examined. —Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'echelon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Get Word of the Day delivered to your inbox!
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
See Definitions and Examples »
Get Word of the Day daily email!
Words at Play
Palter, Dissemble, and Other Words for Lying
Skunk, Bayou, and Other Words with Native American Origins
You've used more than you might think
Words For Things You Didn't Know Have Names, Vol. 2
When 'thingamajig' and 'thingamabob' just won't do
When Were Words First Used?
Look up any year to find out
Ask the Editors