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 Officers pursued the man up the escalator to the main concourse, where people waited to board trains — and where Starbucks is located — then out to Columbus Circle. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 29 July 2022 In a letter sent recently to The Times, an inmate, Kenneth Johns, wrote that he and others were forced to walk naked about half a mile, down an escalator to the body scanning machine, and then forced to sit on dirty benches. Alene Tchekmedyianstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2022 Improving the customer experience of an outdated product is like attaching an escalator to a horse buggy. Ron Shevlin, Forbes, 18 July 2022 Hirst’s video, which features a swath of young people in suit jackets moving up an escalator, has accrued more than 8.5 million views over the past week. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 5 July 2022 The press and much of the country have obsessively monitored Trump’s influence; seven years after his now infamous voyage down an escalator in Manhattan, there are still some who hope that the fever will break. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 30 June 2022 But the escalator — aridification — is only moving in one direction: up. Hayley Smith, Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2022 The baby’s blanket was hanging over the the moving steps of the escalator, inches away from being snatched up in its teeth and pulling them all over. Beth Thames |, al, 15 June 2022 Such treatments can yield fast, dramatic results: in one case a woman with a debilitating fear of heights could calmly ride an escalator after a three-hour course of VR exposure therapy. Christopher Magoon, Scientific American, 19 July 2019 See More

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.

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

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Escalator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for escalator


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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