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A group of people who form an ascending chain of power or authority.

Officers in a government, for example, form an escalating series of ranks or degrees of power, with each rank subject to the authority of the one on the next level above. In a majority of hierarchical arrangements, there are a larger number of people at the bottom than at the top.

Originally, the term was used to mean government by a body of priests. Currently, a hierarchy is used to denote any body of individuals arranged or classified according to capacity, authority, position, or rank.


(Arrangement in a series), noun categorization, chain, classification, collocation, gradation, grouping, order, order of succession, range, run, seriation, series, succession, system


(Persons in authority), noun authorities, bureaucracy, commanders, controllers, dictators, directors, government, heads, leadership power, management, managers, masters, officials, persons in power, powers, regency, regime, rulers, sovereignty
See also: class

HIERARCHY, eccl. law. A hierarchy signified, originally, power of the priest; for in the beginning of societies, the priests were entrusted with all the power but, among the priests themselves, there were different degrees of power and authority, at the summit of which was the sovereign pontiff, and this was called the hierarchy. Now it signifies, not so much the power of the priests as the border of power.

References in periodicals archive ?
He noted that unlike previous PNP leaders, Bartolome and his immediate subordinates were not implicated in serious corruption issues, such as receiving payola from "jueteng," or the illegal numbers game.
Witnesses said the attacker walked from the western part of Saba'een Square, dressed in military clothes, and detonated a suicide belt just before the defense minister, Nasser Ahmed, and his immediate subordinates had been expected to greet the troops.
We often extol "flat" organizations for their many virtues, but an ample body of practical military experience suggests that one person has difficulty adequately and directly supervising more than three to six immediate subordinates.

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