es·​ca·​la·​tor | \ˈe-skə-ˌlā-tər, nonstandard -skyə- \

Definition of escalator 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a power-driven set of stairs arranged like an endless belt that ascend or descend continuously

b : an upward course suggestive of an escalator a never-stopping escalator of economic progress— D. W. Brogan

2 : an escalator clause or provision



Definition of escalator (Entry 2 of 2)

: providing for a periodic proportional upward or downward adjustment (as of prices or wages) an escalator arrangement tying the base pay … to living costsN. Y. Times

Examples of escalator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Toppling down the escalator with all your luggage isn’t ideal. Sophie Saint Thomas, SELF, "Wash Your Hands Immediately After Touching These 8 Things at the Airport," 30 Oct. 2018 Video screens surrounding the escalators play clips of Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Nirvana and Johnny Cash as customers descend to the casino floor. Wayne Parry,, "2 Atlantic City casinos open a day early," 29 June 2018 Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements tells WPRO-AM the victim fell one floor, from the escalator at the movie theater level to the food court, at the Providence Place Mall just before 11 p.m. Monday. Fox News, "Police: Man 'fooling' on escalator falls to death at mall," 29 May 2018 In 1987, a catastrophic fire started on an escalator at the King’s Cross station, and thirty-one people died; a painstaking official inquiry into its causes revealed the depth of the neglect. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, "Can Andy Byford Save the Subways?," 2 July 2018 The first person to design an escalator was Nathan Ames. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Movin' On Up: The Curious Birth and Rapid Rise of the Escalator," 6 Apr. 2016 Riding an escalator to the mezzanine of President Plaza, I was hypnotized by the performance of the chef behind the counter of the tiny O’Tray Noodles. Taras Grescoe, New York Times, "The Best Asian Food in North America? Try British Columbia," 4 June 2018 Shoppers use escalators and elevators to go between the floors. Paul Takahashi, Houston Chronicle, "Photos: H-E-B to open its first two-story grocery store in Houston," 26 June 2018 The escalator for the food court is right next to the sportsbook. Ed Barkowitz,, "Comparing the sportsbooks at Atlantic City's Borgata and Ocean Resort ahead of the World Cup final," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'escalator.' 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 escalator


1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1930, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for escalator


from Escalator, a trademark

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Statistics for escalator

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for escalator

The first known use of escalator was in 1900

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More Definitions for escalator



English Language Learners Definition of escalator

: a moving set of stairs that carries people up or down from one level of a building to another


es·​ca·​la·​tor | \ˈe-skə-ˌlā-tər \

Kids Definition of escalator

: a moving stairway for going from one level (as of a building) to another

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More from Merriam-Webster on escalator

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with escalator

Spanish Central: Translation of escalator

Nglish: Translation of escalator for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of escalator for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about escalator

Comments on escalator

What made you want to look up escalator? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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