hi·​er·​arch ˈhī-(ə-)ˌrärk How to pronounce hierarch (audio)
: a religious leader in a position of authority
: a person high in a hierarchy
hierarchal adjective

Examples of hierarch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the immediate aftermath of communism there was a flurry of revelations about collaboration between Russian hierarchs and the KGB, but soon the files snapped shut. The Economist, 11 Aug. 2019 That paved the way for Archbishop Ieronymos to join the primate of the new Ukrainian church, Epifaniy, and many other Bartholomew-minded hierarchs at celebrations in Istanbul of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s personal feast-day on June 11th. Erasmus, The Economist, 15 June 2019 The affair follows a two-year-old drive by Archbishop Charles Thompson, the local hierarch, to make sure that Catholic teaching is observed in all the places under his purview. Erasmus, The Economist, 14 July 2019 Unfortunately the ability to communicate successfully across other barriers, whether geopolitical or simply personal, is currently eluding the Christians of the East, or at least their hierarchs. Erasmus, The Economist, 15 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hierarch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English ierarchis, plural, from Medieval Latin hierarcha, from Greek hierarchēs, from hieros sacred + -archēs -arch

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hierarch was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near hierarch

Cite this Entry

“Hierarch.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hierarch. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

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