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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 ?
A hierarchy that instills confidence in employees will do that.
Furthermore, this ruling hierarchy must know that it is only in regimented polities and despotic autocracies where the people at the top of the state apparatus can have their way as they like.
But the most obvious advantage of using blocks is seen with replicated hierarchy.
Interestingly, Fosshagen refrains from referring to Dumont, just like Valerio Valeri (posthumously) and Ingjerd Hoem in their contributions about the expression of hierarchy in pre-colonial marriage rules in Hawai'i, astutely labelled 'horizontal hierarchy', and the nature of hierarchy in the traditional exchange system of Tokelau.
Comparison of Selected Semantic Criteria Values Semantic criteria Values 0 1 2 A B A B A B Number of hierarchies - - 30 16 14 15 Number of main hierarchies - - 49 50 1 0 Number of support hierarchies 30 16 14 15 2 7 Depth of main hierarchy 2 5 5 13 21 16 Depth of support hierarchy 14 15 4 18 2 1 Semantic criteria Values 3 4 5 A B A B A B Number of hierarchies 1 7 5 7 0 5 Number of main hierarchies 0 0 0 0 0 0 Number of support hierarchies 4 7 0 5 0 0 Depth of main hierarchy 16 10 6 6 0 0 Depth of support hierarchy 0 0 0 0 0 0 Tab.
SFAS 162 improved the GAAP hierarchy in three ways: (1) in its presentation, (2) in defining the driver for category (a), and (3) in making additions to the hierarchy.
2) Are perceptions of hierarchy related to perceptions about who has influence over decision making?
Consequently, I can claim that a higher level of hierarchical descriptive organization could be presented in relation to Subject selection for both passive and active constructions in the English language in the form of what I have come to call The Prioritising Hierarchy.
A related point of contention has been the hierarchy ED's position that would remove the option under AICPA Rule 203 to diverge from GAAP under certain circumstances.
I agree that the abuse of power by the Roman Catholic hierarchy is a great danger to our country.
This convergence created the cornerstones of the ILM model by providing a policy engine, data mover via DFHSM, and the tiered hierarchy of disk and automated tape libraries.
The English Renaissance emphasized an orderly hierarchy of the world, reflected in the literature of the period.