es·​ca·​la·​tor | \ ˈe-skə-ˌlā-tər How to pronounce escalator (audio) , nonstandard -skyə- How to pronounce escalator (audio) \

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 costsNew York Times

Examples of escalator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Its opening was delayed due to a fire in an out-of-service escalator. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, "Eataly opens new all-day cafe in Dallas," 3 May 2021 Eric Visser, of Visser Construction and president of the Anchorage Home Builders Association, said builders are adding escalator clauses to contracts to protect them as prices rise. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Surging prices for lumber and building materials are slowing projects in Anchorage and driving up costs," 29 Apr. 2021 Passengers would have the option of getting out of the car at certain spots and taking an escalator to the street. Susannah Bryan,, "Tesla tunnel to the beach may not be a pipe dream," 11 Apr. 2021 The scene was much the same at the Burbank cineplex, where one worker seemed to clean escalator handrails for hours. James Rainey, Los Angeles Times, "The scent of popcorn, the silver screen: L.A.’s movie theater fans finally get their fix," 21 Mar. 2021 After scoring a dream gig backing up a famous saxophonist (Angela Bassett), Joe falls down a manhole and winds up on an escalator to The Great Beyond. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "How Pixar’s afterlife movie ‘Soul’ is giving us life at the end of a dreadful 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 The political right around the world has often targeted the escalator. Peter Erickson, The Conversation, "From Trump to Trudeau, the escalator is a favorite symbol of political campaigns," 30 Oct. 2020 Runners checked in that morning outside the Cheesecake Factory, then rode the escalator down into the garage. Kevin Armstrong, WSJ, "Covid Winter Chases Runners Into Parking Garages," 5 Mar. 2021 Consider Trump’s treatment of Jeff Sessions, who believed in much of what Trump did well before the former president descended that escalator in 2015. Jack Butler, National Review, "Wait Just One American Moment," 2 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for escalator

Time Traveler

The first known use of escalator was in 1900

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Statistics for escalator

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Escalator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce escalator (audio) \

Kids Definition of escalator

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

More from Merriam-Webster on escalator

Nglish: Translation of escalator for Spanish Speakers

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

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