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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hierarchical DFT supports some key DFT techniques that help designers further cut DFT and test time, including:
That signaled that, although the bishops might throw some egregiously guilty priests to the lions of the law and the courts, they would fight to protect the hierarchical complex, its assets, its property, and its leadership.
We now describe our proposed adjustment for handling hierarchical classification, where the labels possess some sort of tree structure.
The second model was similar to models used by Mantyniemi and Romakkaniemi (2002), which allowed information about U and p to be shared among strata within the year, and is denoted [M.sub.HW] (hierarchical within-year parameter structure).
Figure 6 shows the effects of whisker content on the flexural strengths and impact strengths of the raw CSW/PVC composite and the hierarchical CSW/PVC composite.
Hierarchical clustering provides many motivational advantages for the application of clustering process on raw data efficiently.
Therefore, the process to find the needed hierarchical random graph that best conforms to the observed real network G is to find out the optimal hierarchical random graph.
Hierarchical community mining has two types of top-down splitting strategy and bottom-up agglomerative strategy [7].