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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 ?
5.2.2 Is it always reasonable to hierarchize Qualis favoring metrics established by private companies from the northern hemisphere?
Tellingly, Sheriff Hampton, an embodiment of the "symbolic order," cannot but hierarchize the pair and see the "black" Aleck as the "white" Chick's "secretary" (155).
Derived from a patient and recurring naming of the ephemeral but valued objects that surround him, Brauntuch's work--a visual litany of the things he knows--demands attentiveness despite its disinclination to hierarchize subject matter.
It also refuses to hierarchize identities, while allowing space for privilege to be challenged.
He acknowledged that on several occasions the errors are not reported for fear of possible subsequent judicialization, which is an issue that is being worked on in Uruguay, in line with countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy and some states of the United States where it is tried to avoid the judicialization and to hierarchize the reports.
In the reading process, one needs to identify and differentiate the various perspectives available in the text, and then coordinate and hierarchize them in order to get to the facts of the Textual Actual World.
Shifting away from languages that prefix and hierarchize the positions and status of givers and receivers, these essays promote engaged and situated readings.
Specifically, it operates to fragment and hierarchize the working class, locally, nationally, and internationally.
President Mauricio Macri presented the relaunch of the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP), which aims to create the necessary tools to hierarchize and professionalize the state employee with the objective of providing citizens with more modern and efficient services.