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 escalated
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
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.
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