es|ca|late [ˈeskəleıt] v [I and T]
[Date: 1900-2000; Origin: escalator]
1.) if fighting, violence, or a bad situation escalates, or if someone escalates it, it becomes much worse
escalate into
Her fear was escalating into panic.
The fighting on the border is escalating.
We do not want to escalate the war.
2.) to become higher or increase, or to make something do this
The costs were escalating alarmingly.
policies that escalate their own costs
escalating crime
>escalation [ˌeskəˈleıʃən] n [U and C]
the escalation of fighting in June
a rapid escalation in value

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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  • escalate — es‧ca‧late [ˈeskəleɪt] verb [intransitive] if amounts, prices etc escalate, they increase: • They saw costs escalating and sales slumping as the effect of rising oil prices hit the company. escalation noun [uncountable] : • The rapid escalation… …   Financial and business terms

  • escalate — is a 1920s back formation from escalator (first recorded in 1900), and has burst the bounds of meaning that a word for a moving staircase might be expected to impose. Not surprisingly, escalate is now rarely used in its first meaning ‘to travel… …   Modern English usage

  • escalate — 1922, back formation from ESCALATOR (Cf. escalator), replacing earlier verb escalade (1801), from the noun ESCALADE (Cf. escalade). Escalate came into general use with a figurative sense of raise after 1959 in reference to the possibility of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • escalate — ☆ escalate [es′kə lāt΄ ] vi. escalated, escalating [back form. < ESCALATOR] 1. to rise on or as on an escalator 2. to expand step by step, as from a limited or local conflict into a general, esp. nuclear, war 3. to grow or increase rapidly,… …   English World dictionary

  • escalate — index accrue (increase), enhance, enlarge, expand, increase, inflate, intensify, parlay (exploit successfully) …   Law dictionary

  • escalate — [v] increase, be increased amplify, ascend, broaden, climb, enlarge, expand, extend, grow, heighten, intensify, magnify, make worse, mount, raise, rise, scale, step up, widen; concepts 236,245 Ant. decrease, diminish, lessen, lower, weaken …   New thesaurus

  • escalate — ► VERB 1) increase rapidly. 2) become more intense or serious. DERIVATIVES escalation noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «travel on an escalator»: from ESCALATOR(Cf. ↑escalator) …   English terms dictionary

  • escalate — UK [ˈeskəleɪt] / US [ˈeskəˌleɪt] verb Word forms escalate : present tense I/you/we/they escalate he/she/it escalates present participle escalating past tense escalated past participle escalated 1) [intransitive/transitive] to become much worse or …   English dictionary

  • escalate — verb 1 become/make sth worse ADVERB ▪ quickly, rapidly ▪ gradually, steadily ▪ Violence between the two sides has been steadily escalating. ▪ The risks gradually escalate …   Collocations dictionary

  • escalate — 01. The argument outside the pub quickly [escalated] into a fistfight. 02. Prices for certain vegetables have [escalated] due to poor weather conditions in California last year. 03. Tensions in the region have [escalated] in the past few months,… …   Grammatical examples in English