Definition of escalate in English:


Line breaks: es¦cal|ate
Pronunciation: /ˈɛskəleɪt


[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.
increase rapidly, soar, rocket, shoot up, mount, surge, spiral, grow rapidly, rise rapidly, climb, go up
1.1Make or 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.
grow, develop, mushroom, increase, be increased, be stepped up, build up, heighten, strengthen, intensify, accelerate, be extended, be enlarged, be magnified, be amplified


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

Definition of escalate in: