Simple Definition of escalate
: to become worse or to make (something) worse or more severe
: to become greater or higher or to make (something) greater or higher
Full Definition of escalate
: to increase in extent, volume, number, amount, intensity, or scope <a little war threatens to escalate into a huge ugly one — Arnold Abrams>
: expand 2
escalationplay \ˌes-kə-ˈlā-shən, ÷-kyə-\ noun
escalatoryplay \ˈes-kə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē, ÷-kyə-\ adjective
Examples of escalate in a sentence
The conflict has escalated into an all-out war.
a time of escalating tensions
We are trying not to escalate the violence.
Salaries of leading executives have continued to escalate.
The cold weather has escalated fuel prices.
Origin and Etymology of escalate
back-formation from escalator
First Known Use: 1944
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up escalate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).