Definition of hierarchy noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈhaɪərɑːki//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈhaɪərɑːrki//
    (pl. hierarchies)
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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] a system, especially in a society or an organization, in which people are organized into different levels of importance from highest to lowest the social/political hierarchy She's quite high up in the management hierarchy.
  2. 2[countable + singular or plural verb] the group of people in control of a large organization or institution
  3. 3[countable] (formal) a system that ideas or beliefs can be arranged into a hierarchy of needs
  4. Word Originlate Middle English: via Old French and medieval Latin from Greek hierarkhia, from hierarkhēs ‘sacred ruler’, from hieros ‘sacred’ + arkhēs ‘ruler’. The earliest sense was ‘system of orders of angels and heavenly beings’; the other senses date from the 17th cent.Extra examples He joined the party in 1966 and quickly moved up the hierarchy. She is above me in the hierarchy. There was a clear hierarchy of power in the company. There was a range of opinion within the ecclesiastical hierarchy on the issue. high up in the party hierarchy the rigid class hierarchy of rural society At the bottom of the corporate hierarchy are part-time low-paid workers. In most large families there is a hierarchy of age, with the older siblings having more status. She’s fairly high up in the management hierarchy. There is a rigid party hierarchy. Why does there need to be such a strict hierarchy within the church?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hierarchy