Why was clemency trending last week?


[es-kuh-leyt] /ˈɛs kəˌleɪt/
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.
Origin of escalate
1920-25; back formation from escalator
Related forms
escalation, noun
[es-kuh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˈɛs kə ləˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/ (Show IPA),
nonescalating, adjective
nonescalatory, adjective
reescalate, verb, reescalated, reescalating.
reescalation, noun
1. advance, mount, swell.
1. lower, decrease, fall.
Pronunciation note
See percolate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for escalate
  • 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.
  • Do not hesitate to escalate if you have even the slightest concern at any time.
  • We urge all students, workers, and faculty members to get involved and to escalate resistance across the state.
  • Most people aren't used to seeing the subtle behaviors that can easily escalate into major behavioral problems.
  • Swine flu has yet to escalate into a global pandemic, but here's what to do if it does.
  • The discovery that tungsten, by itself in the environment, is also hazardous may escalate things to a new level.
  • When one of those arrangements ends badly, it can escalate into ugliness.
British Dictionary definitions for escalate


to increase or be increased in extent, intensity, or magnitude: to escalate a war, prices escalated because of inflation
Derived Forms
escalation, noun
Word Origin
C20: back formation from escalator
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for escalate

1922, back-formation from escalator, replacing earlier verb escalade (1801), from the noun escalade. Escalate came into general use with a figurative sense of "raise" after 1959 in reference to the possibility of nuclear war. Related: Escalated; escalating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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