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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 ?
For better or worse, this line of reasoning leads to the inescapable conclusion that the kind of power structure that prevails in most of the world today is incapable of meeting the most basic survival needs of the species.
Thus, with Bob Holder as chairman of the Atlanta Organization Committee Advisory Council, Billy Payne had an important connection to the black power structure.
Singleton's film presents us with a man who is both frustrated with and emasculated by the white power structure, so he circumvents it by operating outside the law--although ostensibly for the purpose of upholding the law.
A power structure that is never challenged ultimately leads to sterility.
power structure, they should be intelligent enough to realize that dehumanizing gays, women and Jews isn't going to set black people free.
The family became the basic unit of the Phala economy around 1981 with the rise of a new Chinese power structure, and the nomads report that their standard of living has improved since then.
Mikhail Gorbachev is a lifelong Communist who clawed his way to the top of the murderous power structure of the Soviet Union, presided over the continued Soviet genocide of Afghanistan, and supported worldwide Communist repression, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation to terrorist states," says G.
With studies of Calderon's Casa con dos puertas mala es de guardar and Tirso's La celosa de simisma, among others, Blue argues that metaphor for the power structure defines arranged marriages, with the myth of mutual love depending on the recognition of the Other's merit.
Festivals were thus much more than events that reaffirmed the power structure even by temporarily inverting it, as anthropologists sometimes claim.
Instead of being angry at men for discriminating against women, she rebukes women for attempting to compete in the male power structure on male terms.
He is author of, among other books, a trilogy examining church organization and politics on the local, national, and international levels: Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church; A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church.
The political power structure of Los Angeles that does such a good job of looking after itself and not the city is ready to derail Gov.