Definition of hierarchy
1 : a division of angels
3 : a body of persons in authority
4 : the classification of a group of people according to ability or to economic, social, or professional standing; also : the group so classified
5 : a graded or ranked series a hierarchy of values
Examples of hierarchy in a Sentence
… he wrote a verse whose metaphors were read somewhere in the Baathist hierarchy as incitement to Kurdish nationalism. —Geraldine Brooks, Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec. 2001
Whereas the monkeys normally hew to strict hierarchies when it comes to who gets the best food and who grooms whom, there are no obvious top or rotten bananas in the sharing of millipede secretions. —Natalie Angier, New York Times, 5 Dec. 2000
The idea that social order has to come from a centralized, rational, bureaucratic hierarchy was very much associated with the industrial age. —Francis Fukuyama, Atlantic, May 1999
The church hierarchy faced resistance to some of their decisions.
He was at the bottom of the corporate hierarchy.
a rigid hierarchy of social classes
Recent Examples of hierarchy from the Web
In promoting Riveron, the league restructured the officiating hierarchy.
The $200 million development, opening June 1, is poised to shake up Hollywood's hotel hierarchy.
Often mentorship is thought of as a relationship that can help younger workers get to the next step of the corporate hierarchy.
There are signs that the White House hierarchy knows change is needed.
But the investigation continues into the network’s hierarchy, the precise logistics involved in planning the bombing, and what motivated Mr. Abedi.
As the team shifts to a more traditional five-man rotation, Ryu occupies the sixth position in the hierarchy.
Military personnel adhere to an immutable job hierarchy, respecting traditional career paths, while techies often skip college, change jobs frequently, and start their own companies.
Sala at the Aharef blog has created a Java applet that will give you a visual representation of your site’s HTML tag hierarchy.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hierarchy'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
What did hierarchy Originally Mean?
The earliest meaning of hierarchy in English has to do with the ranks of different types of angels in the celestial order. The idea of categorizing groups according to rank readily transferred to the organization of priestly or other governmental rule. The word hierarchy is, in fact, related to a number of governmental words in English, such as monarchy, anarchy, and oligarchy, although it itself is now very rarely used in relation to government.
The word comes from the Greek hierarchēs, which was formed by combining the words hieros, meaning “supernatural, holy,” and archos, meaning. “ruler.” Hierarchy has continued to spread its meaning beyond matters ecclesiastical and governmental, and today is commonly found used in reference to any one of a number of different forms of graded classification.
Origin and Etymology of hierarchy
Middle English ierarchie rank or order of holy beings, from Anglo-French jerarchie, from Medieval Latin hierarchia, from Late Greek, from Greek hierarchēs
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
HIERARCHY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of hierarchy for English Language Learners
: a group that controls an organization and is divided into different levels
: a system in which people or things are placed in a series of levels with different importance or status
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