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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 ?
The underlying idea of Castells Network Society or Network Informational Society is that networks replace hierarchised and circumscribed relationships (Castells 2000).
What Frances is able to see are the connections between the two different traditions of faith, which in the media and in direct police intervention are so forcefully divided and hierarchised.
The arguments that Eliot presents are inclined to constitute a structural framework in which experience, emotion and feeling are hierarchised into an evolutionary scale.
Combining an iconoclastic parody of the Christian tale of resurrection and the grotesque notion of symbolic rebirth, this imagery utilizes anality and various references to the "lower bodily stratum" to invoke a critique of the limits of corporeality and the Western masculinist traditions which inflect them with hierarchised and binarised power relations.
32) Her insight might usefully be appropriated and applied to De Quincey's scenario, where it is the reverse which conceivably occurs: the 'poor vanquished imagination' sinks 'powerless before the fascinating rattlesnake eye of the murderer', and misogynistic gender relations (the pairing of the powerful with the putatively weak) constitute an allegory of the hierarchised binary-couplets in the sublime.
Georgescu-Roegen, like Roy, believed that hierarchised needs ruled consumer choice, and that needs of different orders were irreducible.