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Hi"er*arch`y (h&ī;"&etilde_;r*&ä;rk`ӗ), n.; pl. Hierarchies (h&ī;"&etilde_;r*&ä;rk`ĭz). [Gr. 'ierarchi`a: cf. F. hiérarchie.] 1. Dominion or authority in sacred things.
2. A body of officials disposed organically in ranks and orders each subordinate to the one above it; a body of ecclesiastical rulers.
3. A form of government administered in the church by patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, bishops, and, in an inferior degree, by priests. Shipley.
4. A rank or order of holy beings.
Standards and gonfalons . . . for distinction serve Milton.
Of hierarchies, of orders, and degrees.
5. (Math., Logic, Computers) Any group of objects ranked so that every one but the topmost is subordinate to a specified one above it; also, the entire set of ordering relations between such objects. The ordering relation between each object and the one above is called a hierarchical relation. Classification schemes, as in biology, usually form hierarchies.