hi·​er·​ar·​chi·​cal | \ ˌhī-(ə-)ˈrär-ki-kəl also hir-ˈär- How to pronounce hierarchical (audio) \
variants: or hierarchic \ ˌhī-​(ə-​)ˈrär-​kik also  hir-​ˈär-​ How to pronounce hierarchic (audio) \

Definition of hierarchical

: of, relating to, or arranged in a hierarchy a hierarchical society a hierarchical order in the church

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Other Words from hierarchical

hierarchically \ ˌhī-​(ə-​)ˈrär-​ki-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce hierarchically (audio) also  hir-​ˈär-​ \ adverb

Examples of hierarchical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The organization of melodies around a hierarchical chord structure—tonality—appears as a common attribute across all cultures included in the database. Jim Daley, Scientific American, "What Makes a Song? It’s the Same Recipe in Every Culture," 21 Nov. 2019 Prisons and jails do not serve feminist goals — few institutions are more hierarchical, more dominance-oriented, more patriarchal, and totally reliant on the threat and promise of violence. Piper Kerman, Washington Post, "We’ve Normalized Prison," 28 Oct. 2019 The geography of jazz is hierarchical and evolutionary: New Orleans as Bethlehem and Jerusalem both, then up the river to Chicago, the conquest of New York (with special attention to Harlem), Kansas City and the apotheosis of swing, and so on. BostonGlobe.com, "Three jazz photography shows where what you see is what you hear - The Boston Globe," 18 Oct. 2019 Symmetry-breaking makes nature hierarchical and injects arbitrary variables into its correlation functions — the qualities that sapped Chew’s bootstrap method of its power. Quanta Magazine, "Physicists Uncover Geometric ‘Theory Space’," 23 Feb. 2017 Job ladders do not work as well in less-hierarchical low-wage industries such as restaurants and retail. BostonGlobe.com, "An MIT economist on how to turn bad jobs into good ones - The Boston Globe," 12 Nov. 2019 For those of us who believe in democracy, this is an unsettlingly hierarchical view of society. Doug Henwood, Harper's magazine, "To Serve Is to Rule," 28 Oct. 2019 In the meantime the children strike, eschewing hierarchical models of power and control in favor of consensus. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "The World According to Greta," 22 Oct. 2019 While the old ways of governing were closed, hierarchical, bureaucratic and, too often, driven by ideology, this new way of governing is open, collaborative, interactive and fundamentally entrepreneurial. Martin O'malley, Time, "The Federal Government Has Lost Our Trust. It Could Learn Something From Our Cities," 18 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hierarchical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hierarchical

1561, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hierarchical

see hierarchy

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Time Traveler for hierarchical

Time Traveler

The first known use of hierarchical was in 1561

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Statistics for hierarchical

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Hierarchical.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hierarchically. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hierarchical

Spanish Central: Translation of hierarchical

Nglish: Translation of hierarchical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hierarchical for Arabic Speakers

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