Definition of escalate
- a little war threatens to escalate into a huge ugly one
- —Arnold Abrams
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.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escalate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use: 1944See Words from the same year
: to become worse or to make (something) worse or more severe
: to become greater or higher or to make (something) greater or higher
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