An example of echelon is the President and his cabinet, the upper echelons of the political environment.
- a steplike formation of ships or troops, in which each unit or row is slightly to the left or right of the one preceding it
- a similar formation of aircraft with each unit at a higher or lower level
- any of the units in such a formation
- a subdivision of a military force, according to position [rear echelon] or to function [command echelon]
- any of the levels of responsibility or importance in an organization
- the persons at one of these levels
Origin of echelonFrench échelon, ladder rung from échelle from Old French eschelle from Classical Latin scala, ladder: see scale
- a. A formation of troops in which each unit is positioned successively to the left or right of the rear unit to form an oblique or steplike line.b. A flight formation or arrangement of craft in this manner.c. A similar formation of groups, units, or individuals.
- A subdivision of a military or naval force: a command echelon.
- A level of responsibility or authority in a hierarchy; a rank: a job in the company's lower echelon.
- Physics A special form of diffraction grating that resembles a flight of stairs of equal heights and equal widths.
tr. & intr.v.ech·e·loned, ech·e·lon·ing, ech·e·lons
Origin of echelonFrench échelon from Old French eschelon rung of a ladder from eschiele ladder from Late Latin scāla back-formation from Latin scālae steps, ladder ; see skand- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present echelons, present participle echeloning, simple past and past participle echeloned)
- To form troops into an echelon.
French échelon, from échelle (“ladder”).
echelon - Computer Definition
A system operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA), Echelon reportedly eavesdrops on approximately three billion conversations a day in defense of national security. Echelon apparently can tap any electromagnetic transmission system, including fiber optics, anywhere on the globe. See also wiretap.