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

Feudalism is a hierarchical system where the wealthy own land, while the poor farm said land in exchange for a place to live, as well as protection. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "What is Capitalism?," 7 Jan. 2019 The architect describes following the ramp as processional, but that suggestion of formality and hierarchical symmetries is misleading. Julie V. Iovine., WSJ, "A Shrine to Honor Service," 24 Oct. 2018 Though Beatrice is technically ahead of her sister in the line of succession, this likely doesn’t represent enough of a hierarchical difference to be a problem. Emma Dibdin, Town & Country, "All the Ways Princess Eugenie's Wedding Broke Royal Tradition," 12 Oct. 2018 That’s about learning how to communicate in a strongly hierarchical situation. Joshunda Sanders, Longreads, "Who Sank El Faro? An Interview With Rachel Slade," 23 May 2018 But the extremely hierarchical and rigid societies that the actions of settling down, forming cities, storing grain, and spreading population created eventually resulted in just that outcome. Timothy Morton, The Atlantic, "The Hurricane in My Backyard," 8 July 2018 Democratize the field The panelists agreed that science can be too hierarchical and slow. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "5 Ways to Defend Science in 2018," 20 Mar. 2018 Everything about the funeral is hierarchical, cementing the status of the dead person’s family, the people who attend, and many who don’t. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "A man was crushed to death beneath his mother’s coffin," 18 June 2018 Democratize the field The panelists agreed that science can be too hierarchical and slow. Alexandra Sifferlin, Time, "5 Ways to Defend Science in 2018," 20 Mar. 2018

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

The first known use of hierarchical was in 1561

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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

Comments on hierarchical

What made you want to look up hierarchical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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