• A body of authoritative officials organized in nested ranks.
  • A social, religious, economic or political system or organization in which people or groups of people are ranked with some superior to others based on their status, authority or some other trait.
  • Any group of objects ranked so that every one but the topmost is subordinate to a specified one above it.


  • From Middle English ierarchie, jerarchie, from Old French ierarchie, jerarchie, from Late Latin ierarchia, from Latin hierarchia, from Ancient Greek ἱεραρχία ("rule of a high priest"), from ἱεράρχης, from ἱερός + ἄρχω. The H was re-added c. 1500 due to influence from Classical Latin.

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