English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

hierarchical (ˌhaɪərˈɑːkɪkəl) 



  1. organized in a hierarchy   ⇒ the traditional hierarchical system of military organization


View thesaurus entry
= graded, ranked, graduated

hierarchy (ˈhaɪəˌrɑːkɪ Pronunciation for hierarchy



(plural) -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, mathematics) a formal structure, usually represented by a diagram of connected nodes, with a single uppermost element Compare ordering, heterarchy, tree (sense 6)
  6. government by an organized priesthood

Derived Forms

ˌhierˈarchical, ˌhierˈarchic adjective
ˌhierˈarchically adverb
ˈhierˌarchism noun

Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin hierarchia, from Late Greek hierarkhia, from hierarkhēs high priest; see hiero-, -archy

Translations for 'hierarchical'

  • British English: hierarchical A hierarchical system or organization is one in which people have different ranks or positions, depending on how important they are. ADJECTIVE...the traditional hierarchical system of military organization.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: hierárquico
  • Chinese: 等级制度的等级級制度的
  • European Spanish: jerárquico jerárquica
  • French: hiérarchique
  • German: hierarchisch
  • Italian: gerarchico gerarchica
  • Japanese: 階層性の
  • Korean: 계급의
  • Portuguese: hierárquico hierárquica
  • Spanish: jerárquico jerárquica

Example Sentences Including 'hierarchical'

At the top end, Panasonic's hierarchical management system had left it poorly placed to respond to challenges posed by the IT revolution.
Times, Sunday Times (2002)
In their jockeying for position, they replicated and endorsed the niceties and distinctions of the Church's own hierarchical set-up.
Peter Stanford HEAVEN: A Traveller's Guide to the Undiscovered Country (2002)
In what was still a firmly hierarchical world, his style did not always fit.
Independent (1999)
It has always been run according to its own rules, confidently patriarchal and hierarchical.
The Australian (2004)
She remarked on the "very hierarchical " structures of such hospitals" which are not very accountable to the public".
Irish Times (2002)
We used generalised linear modelling procedures appropriate for hierarchical data.
British Medical Journal (2002)
Wield's friendship was important to him and he knew how punctilious the sergeant was never to overstep police hierarchical lines in public.
Anthony Masters CASCADES - THE DAY OF THE DEAD (2001)
`Stacey ' seemed intrusively intimate, but `Miss --- or Ms --- Stacey ' sounded patronising and hierarchical.
Jane Asher LOSING IT (2002)


Log in to comment on this word.