non·​hi·​er·​ar·​chi·​cal ˌnän-ˌhī-(ə-)ˈrär-ki-kəl How to pronounce nonhierarchical (audio)
 also  -hir-ˈär-
: not hierarchical
especially : not divided into, organized by, or involving different levels of importance or status
a nonhierarchical organization/structure
All great groups have extraordinary leaders. It's a paradox, really, because great groups tend to be collegial and nonhierarchical, peopled by singularly competent individuals who often have an anti-authoritarian streak. Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman
nonhierarchically adverb

Examples of nonhierarchical in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Brand had imagined the Whole Earth Catalog not only as a clearinghouse for information on useful commodities but, through the publication of letters and product reviews from its readers, as host to a geographically diffuse, nonhierarchical community. Benjamin Kunkel, The New Republic, 14 June 2022 Hsieh turned his management attention elsewhere — notably to an effort to eliminate traditional management entirely within Zappos and replace it with a nonhierarchical system called Holacracy, an effort that largely lost steam after a few difficult years. Sam Dean, Los Angeles Times, 12 Dec. 2020 If nonhierarchical world belief shapes liberal thinking, then no one should be surprised that liberals deprioritize enforcing those boundaries. Jer Clifton, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2023 Denmark, like most of Scandinavia, likes to see itself as a fair and equal society, with a nonhierarchical structure, high levels of happiness and trustworthy institutions dedicated to everyone’s well-being. Jasmina Nielsen, New York Times, 28 Aug. 2022 Eileen Fisher is known for its nonhierarchical, unconventional corporate structure. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, 9 Oct. 2022 The Davids demolish the Hobbesian narrative by pointing to complex, agricultural societies—in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas—that governed themselves in nonhierarchical ways. John Horgan, Scientific American, 28 Feb. 2022 And Govan’s vision for the new LACMA — a nonhierarchical, decentralized museum showing rotating installations of the permanent collections along with art at satellite locations — has been nothing if not divisive. Deborah Vankin Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 In March 1982 these activists, primarily progressive Catholics and Protestants, publicly established the Sanctuary Movement, which became a nonhierarchical network of hundreds of congregations across the country. Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, The New York Review of Books, 19 Nov. 2020

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

Word History

First Known Use

1910, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonhierarchical was in 1910

Dictionary Entries Near nonhierarchical

Cite this Entry

“Nonhierarchical.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

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