verb (used with object), verb (used without object), escalated, escalating.
to increase in intensity, magnitude, etc.: to escalate a war; a time when prices escalate.
to raise, lower, rise, or descend on or as if on an escalator.

1920–25; back formation from escalator

escalation, noun
escalatory [es-kuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] , adjective
nonescalating, adjective
nonescalatory, adjective
reescalate, verb, reescalated, reescalating.
reescalation, noun

1. advance, mount, swell.

1. lower, decrease, fall.

See percolate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To escalate
World English Dictionary
escalate (ˈɛskəˌleɪt)
to increase or be increased in extent, intensity, or magnitude: to escalate a war; prices escalated because of inflation
[C20: back formation from escalator]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1922, back formation from escalator; it came into general use with a sense of "raise" after 1959. Related: Escalated; escalating.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Extended deep into adulthood, the stakes escalate exponentially.
Ability to work independently, manage tasks to timely completion and
  appropriately escalate issues.
It is too early to tell whether the protests will escalate into a full-blown
  political crisis.
But lack of consumer awareness allows the war to escalate.
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