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

After three weeks of dramatically escalating tensions, India and Pakistan appear to have pulled back from the brink of war—for now. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "India and Pakistan Are Flirting With Nuclear Disaster," 7 Mar. 2019 The head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency lashed out at the U.S. and NATO allies on Wednesday, accusing the West of provoking a new Cold War amid escalating tensions over the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in England. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Russian spy chief accuses US and UK of staging nerve attack, predicts return to ‘dark times of Cold War’," 2 Oct. 2018 Soybeans have been a key battleground in escalating trade tensions between the two countries as China is the world’s biggest importer and America’s largest customer in trade worth $14 billion last year. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "U.S. cargo ship carrying soybeans in race to beat China's retaliatory tariffs," 5 July 2018 While the domestic steel sector has applauded the administration’s moves toward tariffs, carmakers and other manufacturers are warning that escalating trade tensions could end up forcing them to scale back on hiring in the months to come. New York Times, "Automakers Report June Sales and China Tariffs Will Take Effect," 1 July 2018 The 51-year-old recently withdrew an application to extend his UK visa after facing delays due to escalating tensions between Russia and the UK. SI.com, "How Roman Abramovich Lost His Grip on English Football & What it Means for Chelsea Moving Forward," 29 June 2018 Xi’s chief economic aide, Liu He, returned from Washington and declared the trade war over last month, only to see Trump escalate tensions again shortly afterward. Bloomberg.com, "China Begins to Question Whether It’s Ready for a Trade War," 26 June 2018 Daimler became the first prominent company to cut its profit outlook due to escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China, claiming Chinese customers will now buy fewer cars after Beijing slaps tariffs on U.S. auto imports. Fortune, "Auto Stocks Flop as Daimler Cuts Its Profit Expectations Because of the Brewing U.S.-China Trade War," 21 June 2018 Cohn's comment came amid escalating tensions between the US and its allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union over steel and aluminum. Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN, "Ex-WH economic adviser Gary Cohn warns of trade war," 15 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

15 Apr 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

Comments on escalate

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