Pronunciation: (hī'u-rär"kē, hī'rär-),[key] —n., —pl.-chies. 1. any system of persons or things ranked one above another.
2. government by ecclesiastical rulers.
3. the power or dominion of a hierarch.
4. an organized body of ecclesiastical officials in successive ranks or orders: the Roman Catholic hierarchy. 5. one of the three divisions of the angels, each made up of three orders, conceived as constituting a graded body.
6. Also called celestial hierarchy. the collective body of angels.
7. government by an elite group.
8. Ling.the system of levels according to which a language is organized, as phonemic, morphemic, syntactic, or semantic.