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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 ?
The constraints which govern term accessibility to different grammatical processes seem to be related to cognitive aspects associated with the degree of closeness of the constituents with respect to the deictic centre of the speaker and which imply that such properties appear in the first positions in the implicational hierarchies: "there are connections between grammatical and cognitive accessibility in the sense that, to a certain extent, those constituents which are most accessible to grammatical processes are at the same time most accessible in a cognitive sense" (Dik 1997a: 41).
Its robust 11,000-item financial business data model,and the associated classifications, hierarchies and dimensions, enable organizations to transform source data from operational systems into logical, accessible business information.
The usual ingredients of the "social pasta" (Kippenberger), one might think; but even though it appeared regressive and reactionary in many respects, the social machinery Kippenberger continued to run for his whole life also led away from many of the established conventions and hierarchies in the West German art world.
The most important problem that I have with the book, though, is that Pooler's hierarchies are almost exclusively premised on size.
The same principle naturally applies to hierarchies of numbers, collections, and so forth, with plenty of opportunities to exploit the efficiency and maintainability gains offered by a clean partitioning of the problem domain.
Not all hierarchies were sampled, only those that: (1) were likely to contain sustained topical discourse, (2) were likely to reflect an inter-disciplinary approach to the exchanges, and (3) were not likely to be recreational in nature.
In the next two sections there will be respective discussions of ecological and economic hierarchies. Then there will be an analysis of the various forms that combined systems can take and the conditions under which dynamics for these forms may lead to crises.
By creating two separate but parallel hierarchies, (one for state and local governments and one for non-government entities) the new hierarchy prevents FASB pronouncements from requiring changes in state and local government accounting practices and eliminates the need for so-called "negative standards."
The SAS establishes two separate but parallel hierarchies: one for state and local governments and one for private nongovernment entities.
Among the well-known soliton hierarchies are the KdV hierarchy, the AKNS hierarchy, and the Kaup-Newell hierarchy [1].
All social creatures naturally arrange themselves in hierarchies, with different levels claiming for themselves different rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
Sprague says this includes: summary testing to record the test effectiveness of collections of controls; mass user-assignment updates; mass updates to control hierarchies; and the ability to capture snapshots of the control hierarchies in place at any point in time.