n pl , -chies
1 a system of persons or things arranged in a graded order
2 a body of persons in holy orders organized into graded ranks
3 the collective body of those so organized
4 a series of ordered groupings within a system, such as the arrangement of plants and animals into classes, orders, families, etc.
5 (Linguistics, etc.) a formal structure, usually represented by a diagram of connected nodes, with a single uppermost element
6 government by an organized priesthood
(C14: from Medieval Latin hierarchia, from Late Greek hierarkhia, from hierarkhes high priest; see hiero-, -archy)
hierarchical, hierarchic adj
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