Hi"er*arch`y (?), n.; pl. Hierarchies (#). [Gr. : cf. F. hi'erarchie.]
Dominion or authority in sacred things.
A body of officials disposed organically in ranks and orders each subordinate to the one above it; a body of ecclesiastical rulers.
A form of government administered in the church by patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, bishops, and, in an inferior degree, by priests.
A rank or order of holy beings.
Standards and gonfalons . . . for distinction serve
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees.
<-- 5. Any group of objects ranked so that every one but the topmost is subordinate to a specified one above it. The ordering relation between each object and the one above is called a "hierarchical relation" -->
© Webster 1913.