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

An escalating trade war with China added to overall market woes. Spencer Soper, The Seattle Times, "Amazon dealt $250 billion blow from market jitters and confusion," 30 Oct. 2018 Trump visited North Dakota as new economic data show the state falling behind its Midwestern neighbors amid concerns about an escalating trade war with China. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump, at ND rally, says keeping Senate in GOP hands 'the most important thing' after Kennedy retirement," 2 Oct. 2018 An escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economic powers is happening in real time, though a détente could still be reached. Kevin Warsh, WSJ, "The Fault Lies in R-Star and in Ourselves," 25 Sep. 2018 The result is a new disadvantage for US assembly plants, left as collateral damage in the escalating trade war. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "How Trump’s tariffs will hurt US tech companies," 18 Sep. 2018 The situation escalated into a rabid mob attacking a small van carrying a few protestors. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Meet Gerilyn, Tbilisi’s Queen of Drag," 21 Nov. 2018 The battle between ailing electric car startup Faraday Future and its main investor, Chinese real estate giant Evergrande, escalated once again on Wednesday. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Faraday Future employees sue investor over ‘conspiracy’ to destroy the EV startup," 14 Nov. 2018 But President Donald Trumps’s 2016 campaign, the most racially divisive in modern history, escalated this into a kind of cold civil war. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The midterm elections revealed that America is in a cold civil war," 7 Nov. 2018 The Egyptian government escalated its offensive against extremist groups in the country earlier this year, launching a major military operation in the northern the Sinai Peninsula, where Islamic State militants have operated for years. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Gunmen in Egypt Attack Bus Carrying Christians, Killing Seven," 2 Nov. 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

9 Dec 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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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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