escalate

verb
es·​ca·​late | \ ˈe-skə-ˌlāt How to pronounce escalate (audio) , nonstandard -skyə- How to pronounce escalate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce escalation (audio) , nonstandard  -​skyə-​ \ noun
escalatory \ ˈe-​skə-​lə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce escalatory (audio) , 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

Investors have been anxious about escalating trade disputes between the U.S. and key trading partners, primarily China. Washington Post, "US stocks climb on hope of US-Mexico trade deal," 7 June 2019 Chelsea have already had an appeal rejected by FIFA and have now escalated the issue, although there has been no application for the ban to be frozen on appeal. SI.com, "CAS Registers Chelsea Appeal Against FIFA-Imposed 2-Window Transfer Ban," 7 June 2019 Global auto sales are slipping for the first time in a decade, disrupted by President Trump’s escalating trade war. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "The Car Industry Is Under Siege," 6 June 2019 But there is still uncertainty over how the United States will resolve escalating trade wars with China and Mexico, two of the country's biggest trading partners. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Asia markets jump on Wall Street rally," 4 June 2019 Beijing - China fired back at the U.S. Sunday over the two nations' trade dispute, issuing a report that blamed the conflict on the Trump administration but refrained from escalating the trade war. CBS News, "China blames U.S. for rising trade war tensions," 3 June 2019 In short, Sessions wanted to re-escalate the war on drugs. Alex Ward, Vox, "Jeff Sessions is out as attorney general," 7 Nov. 2018 But to Lei, external factors appeared to loom largest–especially U.S. President Donald Trump’s escalating trade war with China, of which Xiaomi is the most visible victim yet. Charlie Cambell/beijing, Time, "Lei Jun Wants to Be China’s Answer to Steve Jobs. But Trump’s Trade War Is Getting In His Way," 12 July 2018 The resolution comes a day after Trump escalated his ongoing trade war with China by releasing a list of $200 billion in Chinese goods. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Senate takes step to push back on Trump over tariffs a day after China trade war escalates," 11 July 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

10 Jun 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on escalate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with escalate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for escalate

Spanish Central: Translation of escalate

Nglish: Translation of escalate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of escalate for Arabic Speakers

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