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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 ?
This part of the Article very briefly examines the existing law of deference, which is supposed to be uniform across courts, and then, more importantly, shows how the rationales supporting deference actually support a hierarchically variable regime.
The resultant cataloging data model is comprised of hierarchically related records representing collection, group, subgroup, item, and image cataloging levels.
In addition to divergences from the Universal Declaration of Human rights, the Arab human rights movement has also failed to practice universality by hierarchically ordering some rights above others.
Andre Alexis's first collection of short fiction plunges the reader into a realm where ordinary experience is only a faint memory of a once hierarchically ordered and explainable universe.
Third, if disabilities can be viewed hierarchically, then deficiencies in ADL's and IADL's may be considered the most severe.
Bonaventure, stress the egalitarian nature of work, distinguishing the mechanical from the liberal arts not hierarchically "but upon the different processes employed" - a position hardly foreign to the thought of John Dewey and the American pragmatists.
Kolb's model of a "tiered set of options" allows an open-ended canon always implicitly in flux and always open to change, but nonetheless merit-structured and involving three hierarchically arranged "levels" to which authors or texts are assigned.
Thorndike, whose views have dominated education from the 1920s until today, believed that public schooling should be standardized and hierarchically managed.
The result is that our organizations tend to have a large investment in hierarchically oriented, host-based computer systems.
Now a calculation shows that cosmic strings will cluster hierarchically, and this clustering closely resembles the distribution of galaxies seen in what astronomers call Abell clusters.
This first book devoted to this hot field of science covers materials with bimodal, trimodal and multimodal pore size, with an emphasis on the successful design, synthesis and characterization of all kinds of hierarchically porous materials using different synthesis strategies.
Among the topics are fabricating silica monoliths with hierarchically porous structure from freeze drying, preparing and characterizing a polylactic acid coating on the surface of a magnesium alloy, preparing high purity spherical silica powder from silica fumes, removing nickel (II) ion from wastewater by modified maifanite, multi-scale polyimide/carbon fiber hybrid filters for hot gas, and the welding performance of tungsten electrodes with different contents of rare earth oxides.

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