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 costsN. Y. Times

Examples of escalator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In was an airy, double-height entryway where visitors are met with a showstopping escalator designed by Rem Koolhaas. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "Halsey Performs for an A-List Crowd at the Newly Redesigned Saks Fifth Avenue," 8 Feb. 2019 The prestigious New Yorker magazine unveiled its latest cover on Thursday, depicting an illustration of President Trump falling down the Trump Tower escalator and landing flat on his face but still managing to give his signature thumbs up. Brian Flood, Fox News, "New Yorker unveils polarizing cover depicting Trump falling down escalator onto his face," 19 July 2018 The old State Farm commercial in which Paul and his doppelganger were going down the escalator while Curry and his twin were ascending became reality. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stephen Curry vs. Chris Paul: A rivalry renewed," 12 May 2018 Getty Update, 8/4: While Auntie Pippa was taking the escalator at Heathrow Airport, a fellow traveler standing behind her got a good look at her phone's lock screen. Chelsea Peng, Marie Claire, "Just Guess Whose Picture Pippa Middleton Uses as Her Phone's Lock Screen," 4 Aug. 2015 In Dawn of the Dead, zombies wander through a giant freestanding mall, tripping and falling into the fountain, or rotating haplessly on the escalators as a carousel-esque soundtrack plays. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Why zombies are so hilarious," 5 Dec. 2018 Airport operations have started to track which elevators and escalators are out of service, for example. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "New York’s Three Airports: Bottom of the Heap," 14 Nov. 2018 Think of the ocean temperatures near Greenland like an escalator that’s rising slowly from global warming, Khazendar said. Seth Borenstein, The Seattle Times, "Big U-turn: Key melting Greenland glacier is growing again," 27 Mar. 2019 Coated in iridescent glass and neon lights, the escalator serves as a contemporary intervention among the floor’s towering central beams, which date back to the store’s opening in 1924. Zachary Weiss, Vogue, "Halsey Performs for an A-List Crowd at the Newly Redesigned Saks Fifth Avenue," 8 Feb. 2019

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

14 May 2019

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Time Traveler for escalator

The first known use of escalator was in 1900

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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

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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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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