Definition of escalate in English:

escalate

Syllabification: es·ca·late
Pronunciation: /ˈeskəˌlāt
 
/

verb

[no object]
  • 1Increase rapidly: the price of tickets escalated (as adjective escalating) the escalating cost of health care
    More example sentences
    • But the problem is that with rapidly escalating costs we are getting less for our money.
    • In turn, the increased prices caused health costs to escalate in a vicious circle.
    • The main factor that will put a brake on house price rises next year will be gradually escalating interest rates.
    Synonyms
    increase rapidly, soar, rocket, shoot up, mount, spiral, climb, go up, inflate
    informal go through the ceiling, go through the roof, skyrocket
  • 1.1Become or cause to become more intense or serious: [no object]: the disturbance escalated into a full-scale riot [with object]: we do not want to escalate the war
    More example sentences
    • Indeed, for each of these countries ethnic conflict has escalated into civil war.
    • A local show of strength then escalated into a confrontation with police.
    • It could easily have escalated into something far more serious, the spokesperson stressed.
    Synonyms
    grow, develop, mushroom, increase, heighten, intensify, accelerate

Origin

1920s (in the sense 'travel on an escalator'): back-formation from escalator.

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