(redirected from hierarchizes)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia.


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 ?
Moreover, unlike Wharton's "perverse" narrative, which engages super-ordinate binaries such as "finance" and "sexuality," "homo-" and "hetero-" desire in a variety of configurations that strategically destabilize them as "natural," discrete categories, the formal organization of Freud's text orders an iconography of sexuality that metaphorizes woman as the natural, reciprocal "other" in the male/female pair, and hierarchizes desire in a taxonomy of gender, erotogenic zones, and reproductive function.
Structurally, Part III of Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality subsumes and hierarchizes the "continuum" and diversity of "sexuality" the text asserts in Parts I and II.
Freud's iconography of "sexuality" matches the "text" of market capitalism in its advancement of a unitary sexual "aim," heterosexual genital intercourse, which governs and hierarchizes (and therefore subsumes and represses) female sexuality and same-sex desire by occulting them as its metonyms.