escalate

verb
es·ca·late | \ˈe-skə-ˌlāt, nonstandard -skyə- \
escalated; escalating

Definition of escalate 

intransitive verb

: to increase in extent, volume, number, amount, intensity, or scope a little war threatens to escalate into a huge ugly one— Arnold Abrams

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Other Words from escalate

escalation \ˌe-skə-ˈlā-shən, nonstandard -skyə- \ noun
escalatory \ˈe-skə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē, nonstandard -skyə- \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Bobby Taylor, 58, and Troy Rose, 25, got into an argument that quickly escalated and led to Taylor shooting Rose, police say. Cincinnati.com, "Two men injured after Friday night shooting in Pendleton County, police say," 14 July 2018 The lawsuit said the poor conditions, frequent physical searches and verbal abuse by staff often escalated into confrontations, as the frustrated children acted out. USA TODAY, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse," 21 June 2018 The lawsuit said the poor conditions, frequent physical searches and verbal abuse by staff often escalated into confrontations, as the frustrated children acted out. Michael Biesecker, BostonGlobe.com, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse," 21 June 2018 The city projects that pension costs will escalate by at least 49 percent over the next five years. Roland Li, SFChronicle.com, "Eastline, bigger than Salesforce Tower, wants to transform Oakland," 6 July 2018 Critics of hack backs warn that such retaliation could escalate into all-out conflict. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Cyber Saturday—China Hack Backs, Laptop Cam Spying, Elon Musk's Saboteur," 23 June 2018 The crew goes to some extreme measures: costumes, booby traps, body doubles and fake-outs escalate during Jerry’s wedding weekend. Katie Walsh, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Playful ‘Tag’ is summer fluff with a heart," 15 June 2018 Roughly every nine seconds, a dialogue option appeared that could escalate the showdown, but our demo's handler stuck to the cooler road. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Cyberpunk 2077 world premiere: 50 minutes of William Gibson-level insanity," 14 June 2018 When an altercation escalated between two males, both pulled out firearms and started shooting. Lisa M. Bolton, Washington Post, "Prince William County," 13 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of escalate

1944, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for escalate

back-formation from escalator

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Statistics for escalate

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for escalate

The first known use of escalate was in 1944

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More Definitions for escalate

escalate

verb

English Language Learners 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

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Comments on escalate

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