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

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 Strangers high-fived each other on subway escalators. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "Moscow Celebrates After Surprise World Cup Win," 1 July 2018 Using handheld scanners, the inspectors who’d staked out the escalator checked the tickets and Clipper cards of each person. Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, "BART cited 1,300 fare evaders in 2 months. Only about 100 paid up," 4 June 2018 The victim, 45, walked onto the escalator from the top floor of Providence Place Mall on Monday night, ABC 6 said. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "Man was ‘clowning around’ on a mall escalator, witness says. He fell to his death.," 29 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about escalator

Statistics for escalator

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for escalator

The first known use of escalator was in 1900

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!