Definition of tier in English:



  • 1Each in a series of rows or levels of a structure placed one above the other.

    ‘a tier of seats’
    in combination ‘the room was full of three-tier metal bunks’
    • ‘For an hour-and-a-half, their contest was so intense that from the court you could hear cutlery being removed from the hospitality booths three tiers above.’
    • ‘He rebuilt the retaining walls as multiple tiers, with a bonus upper-level patio above a bank of stone steps.’
    • ‘The banked tiers of seats in front were in a deep gloom that contrasted sharply with the lurid light flooding the tables.’
    • ‘Constructed in A.D. 161, this once-massive theater today holds only 5,000 spectators in the lower tier of seats.’
    • ‘But the residents say development will come within 70 ft of the edge of the boulder clay cliff and will be only 30 to 50 ft above the first tier of houses.’
    • ‘Beyond, long hallways were being reframed into tiers of open-air balconies, through which 55 small rooms would face a central, palm-shaded atrium.’
    • ‘The Rows are double-decker layers of shops, one tier on the street level, the others stacked on top and connected by a footway.’
    • ‘The ground has changed a bit since then, with great cylindrical towers supporting a third tier, and a plexiglass roof that bottles up the venue's unique atmosphere.’
    • ‘Supporters flung the wooden seats from the upper tier of a stand at Sheffield United supporters celebrating their team's win on the pitch below.’
    • ‘I took a seat in the upper tier of the Cusack Stand to watch the minor final.’
    • ‘The stadium, with its huge tiers of stone seating, is as impressive as it is old.’
    • ‘Inside was a rounded room, with tiers of seats rising up all around, focused on a platform in the middle of the room where three men sat, watching him as he walked in.’
    • ‘Her leather book bag lay under her head and a tray sat on the tier above her.’
    • ‘A woman at the bar on the tier above us held her drink precariously over mom's head.’
    • ‘Against the far wall was built a smaller structure that looked like two tiers of temporary offices.’
    • ‘Three sides of the inner chamber were lined with tiers of seats, the fourth being a flat extension of the floor, where sat the Mayor and his clerks.’
    • ‘When the new huts are placed on the prime spot, there will also be special lighting, wheelchair access for three tiers of huts, a water supply and designated parking for the site users.’
    • ‘As in the Chicago Auditorium, two tiers of box seats with arched fronts lined the sides of the auditorium above the lower orchestra.’
    • ‘He made the infants' room look like a lecture theatre, with children as young as three sitting on tiers in a gallery.’
    • ‘The banded masonry structure forms a robust base for the hovering lightweight steel roof plane held tautly above the tiers of seating below.’
    row, rank, bank, line
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Each of a number of successively overlapping ruffles or flounces on a garment.
      ‘a full skirt gathered into three tiers’
      • ‘Nicole Kidman chose a Chanel pink-chiffon, spaghetti-strap gown with tiers of ruffles running down the bodice, and 200 carats of raw Bulgari diamonds wrapped around her neck.’
      • ‘Heiress, a wedding dress from 1957 with chevron pleated handkerchief linen descending in tiers banded with handmade Irish crochet, demonstrates the concept at its most magical.’
      • ‘Pin a piece of costume jewelry between the two tiers.’
      • ‘Meg took it and drank slowly, careful not to spill any on her dress, while Mrs. Carroll fretted around the pair, nervously fidgeting with the bottom tier of the gown.’
      • ‘Scarlet Johansson in a very green dress that has tiers of green ruffles.’
      • ‘However, she seemed to have forgotten the lower tier of her shirt.’
    2. 1.2 A level or grade within the hierarchy of an organization or system.
      ‘companies have taken out a tier of management to save money’
      • ‘The government has determined to replace appeals to the Privy Council with a new two tier Supreme Court above the current Court of Appeal.’
      • ‘What are the societal consequences of creating a two-tier medical system?’
      • ‘However when a tier of our democratic system does not work well it is imperative to improve it not abolish it.’
      • ‘Apart from the social tier, I wonder if there are any other differences?’
      • ‘Is this third level necessary when two tiers of government are already regulating pesticides?’
      • ‘It most likely represents the upper tier of a two-tiered hierarchy, as a large number of smaller sites have been recorded in the vicinity.’
      • ‘When a company makes progress within these lower tiers, it eventually gets promoted to the index above.’
      • ‘The basic tier is operation within the workplace.’
      • ‘The automobile industry is characterized by a hierarchical social division of labor, organized in tiers around powerful car producers.’
      • ‘It was also successful at the lower tier of government and, indeed, in 2002 held office in every state and territory.’
      • ‘The defenders of our health care system have asserted themselves strongly, and the advocates of the two-tier system are for the moment, in retreat.’
      • ‘All four semi-finalists will have the option of moving up to the lower tier of the new grade.’
      • ‘We should like to see a better representation from people of various faiths at all tiers within the Charity Commission.’
      • ‘Having arrived at the final 40, they assigned each to one of four tiers, and debated the ranking within each tier.’
      • ‘Since the mid-1990s, lower tiers of government have been expected to shoulder the lion's share of these education costs using their own locally-raised taxes.’
      • ‘Australia is in danger of creating a two-tier system of universities.’
      • ‘The final tier of the hierarchy is the Executive Oversight Committee.’
      • ‘These schools would compose the bottom tier of an educational hierarchy based on privilege.’
      • ‘We wanted to see how we could pull out costs at the buyer tier of the three-tier system.’
      • ‘Critics of the plan believe it is rooted as much in political expediency as in a genuine desire to revamp the topmost tier of the legal system.’
      grade, gradation, step, echelon, point on the scale, rung on the ladder
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    3. 1.3usually tiers (in Tasmania and South Australia) a forested mountain range, especially one of a series.
      ‘open plains bordered by far extending precipitous mountain tiers’
      • ‘So little of the remaining land is useful, consisting as it does of impenetrable scrub or mountain tiers.’
      • ‘It's disastrous that we're clearing over very large attitudinal ranges, in places like the Western Tiers.’
      • ‘Tasmania's logging furore centres on the Styx Valley, the Tarkine, the Great Western Tiers, the Northeast Highlands, the Eastern Tiers, the Tasman Peninsula and the Leven Valley.’
      • ‘To the east, bounded also by the Tiers, the plateau is relatively flat, with large, shallow lakes set amidst open eucalypt forest.’
      • ‘What hurts the men of the Great Western Tiers most is that no one has asked them what should happen on the mountain range.’
      • ‘I can see the Tiers rearing up 1000 metres, forested from top to bottom.’
      • ‘She says her Blue Tiers mountain biking tourism concept will create more than 50 long-term jobs in the North-East.’
      • ‘Stretching back from the Tiers is a relatively flat alpine area, a land of thousands of lakes and endemic pines.’


Late 15th century: from French tire ‘sequence, order’, from tirer ‘elongate, draw’.