Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “hierarchy”


noun [C]     /ˈhaɪə.rɑː.ki/ US  /ˈhaɪr.ɑːr-/
C2 a system in which people or things are arranged according to their importance: Some monkeys have a very complex social hierarchy. He rose quickly through the political hierarchy to become party leader.Classifying and creating order the people in the upper levels of an organization who control itPeople in charge of or controlling other peopleBosses, managers and directorsBosses, managers and directorsPeople in charge of or controlling other people hierarchical     /ˌhaɪəˈrɑː.kɪ.kəl/ US  /ˌhaɪrˈɑːr-/ adjective C2 It's a very hierarchical organization in which everyone's status is clearly defined.Classifying and creating order hierarchically     /ˌhaɪəˈrɑː.kɪ.kəl.i/ US  /ˌhaɪrˈɑːr-/ adverb The company is hierarchically structured.Classifying and creating order
(Definition of hierarchy noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of hierarchy

Definitions of “hierarchy” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day


showing a wish to help or bring advantages to others, even if it results in disadvantage for yourself

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More