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[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.
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 escalated
  • But in the past decade the risks have escalated as criminal activity has invaded the reserve's western region.
  • Look at previous messages for link for explanation of what was going on there, before the situation escalated with tragic results.
  • When the recession of that period ended, those fees became permanent, and they have escalated ever since.
  • At the same time, research expectations for tenure-track faculty members have escalated steadily.
  • As a housing crisis has escalated in the past few years, the regime has made no effort to provide adequate public accommodation.
  • Author went downstairs and stood on the stoop to watch the kids as their argument escalated.
  • When conditions maximized humiliation and confrontation, every interaction escalated into a trial of strength.
  • Its sharp sight might even have escalated an evolutionary arms race with its prey, triggering a range of defensive adaptations.
  • Another escalated nuclear arms race in that region is a legitimate and large fear.
  • Even so, they escalated an already bad situation, and that was wrong.
British Dictionary definitions for escalated


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 escalated



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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