- a system of church government by priests or other clergy in graded ranks
- the group of officials, esp. the highest officials, in such a system
- a group of persons or things arranged in order of rank, grade, class, etc.
Origin of hierarchyaltered (modeled on Gr) from Middle English ierarchie from Old French jerarchie from Ecclesiastical Medieval Latin hierarchia from LGr(Ec), power or rule of a hierarch from Classical Greek hierarch?s: see hierarch