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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 ?
In the West, however, once the Ptolemaic world was destroyed by Copernicus and Galileo, the heirarchy of being also came to be doubted in mainstream Western thought and Leibnitz was the last major Western philosopher to take angels seriously.
Ernest Beck, a Roman Catholic priest who has defied the church heirarchy to recapture what he sees as the lost dignity of his faith.
He was sensitive, too, to the fact that this so-called Spanish colonial art was in fact the handiwork of Indian and mestizo artisans, working under the direction of the Catholic Church heirarchy.
This cast of characters plays a supporting role to her central discussion of how Wordsworth and Coleridge differed in their respective approaches to the speech/writing heirarchy of conventional metaphysics.
Under the terms of the agreement, sci-worx will offer a complete solution by combining sci-worx's strong design expertise and leadership for Sychronous Optical Network/Sychronous Digital Heirarchy (SONET/SDH) and Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) IP cores with Alcatel's widely licensed silicon proven Ethernet MAC cores.
Tenders are invited for Design, Engineering, Manufacture, Testing Supply, Erection and commissioning of Synchronous Digital Heirarchy (SDH) equipments and Plesio-synchronous Digital Heirarchy (PDH) Multiplexers with cross connect with Interface for Protection inter-trip or Digital Protection couplers for establishment of fibre optic links and system integration.
As per the heirarchy of events, the Masters are the most important competitions on the professional world of Padel Tennis.
We can but hope that the new Special Measures set up will enable the Betsi Cadwaladr Trust to actually be trusted, the National Health Service to actually provide the service that Welsh people have paid for and deserve, ensure than managers actually manage efficiently, and use funding to fund the needs of patients and medical staff rather the pension and upmarket office needs of the non-productive heirarchy.
With one eye on recruiting Wenger, the Arsenal heirarchy ignored the manager's pleas and soon relieved him of his duties.
Certainly more honest than the heirarchy of the Birmingahm archdiocese which covers Coventry and Warwickshire.
The principal oversees the school heirarchy, injecting him or herself as needed, in a school building, during school hours.