escalate es‧ca‧late [ˈeskəleɪt] verb [intransitive]
if amounts, prices etc escalate, they increase:

• They saw costs escalating and sales slumping as the effect of rising oil prices hit the company.

— escalation noun [uncountable] :

• The rapid escalation of loan defaults in the area has caused concern.

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escalate UK US /ˈeskəleɪt/ verb [I or T]
to become more important or serious, or to make something do this: a problem/crisis/dispute escalates »

Mediation can be used to settle disputes at an early stage and stop problems escalating.

escalate a problem/matter/complaint »

If the customer remains dissatisfied with the response, they may then escalate the complaint.

to rise or to make something rise: price/cost/demand escalates »

As prices escalated, fewer people could afford a mortgage on a house.

escalate costs/prices »

It was suggested that the UV coating on the windows would escalate the cost of the original plan.

escalation noun [C or U]

the escalation in/of prices


The problem needs to be addressed immediately in order to avoid an escalation.

Financial and business terms. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • escalate — is a 1920s back formation from escalator (first recorded in 1900), and has burst the bounds of meaning that a word for a moving staircase might be expected to impose. Not surprisingly, escalate is now rarely used in its first meaning ‘to travel… …   Modern English usage

  • escalate — 1922, back formation from ESCALATOR (Cf. escalator), replacing earlier verb escalade (1801), from the noun ESCALADE (Cf. escalade). Escalate came into general use with a figurative sense of raise after 1959 in reference to the possibility of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • escalate — ☆ escalate [es′kə lāt΄ ] vi. escalated, escalating [back form. < ESCALATOR] 1. to rise on or as on an escalator 2. to expand step by step, as from a limited or local conflict into a general, esp. nuclear, war 3. to grow or increase rapidly,… …   English World dictionary

  • escalate — index accrue (increase), enhance, enlarge, expand, increase, inflate, intensify, parlay (exploit successfully) …   Law dictionary

  • escalate — [v] increase, be increased amplify, ascend, broaden, climb, enlarge, expand, extend, grow, heighten, intensify, magnify, make worse, mount, raise, rise, scale, step up, widen; concepts 236,245 Ant. decrease, diminish, lessen, lower, weaken …   New thesaurus

  • escalate — ► VERB 1) increase rapidly. 2) become more intense or serious. DERIVATIVES escalation noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «travel on an escalator»: from ESCALATOR(Cf. ↑escalator) …   English terms dictionary

  • escalate — UK [ˈeskəleɪt] / US [ˈeskəˌleɪt] verb Word forms escalate : present tense I/you/we/they escalate he/she/it escalates present participle escalating past tense escalated past participle escalated 1) [intransitive/transitive] to become much worse or …   English dictionary

  • escalate — verb 1 become/make sth worse ADVERB ▪ quickly, rapidly ▪ gradually, steadily ▪ Violence between the two sides has been steadily escalating. ▪ The risks gradually escalate …   Collocations dictionary

  • escalate — 01. The argument outside the pub quickly [escalated] into a fistfight. 02. Prices for certain vegetables have [escalated] due to poor weather conditions in California last year. 03. Tensions in the region have [escalated] in the past few months,… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • escalate — es|ca|late [ˈeskəleıt] v [I and T] [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: escalator] 1.) if fighting, violence, or a bad situation escalates, or if someone escalates it, it becomes much worse escalate into ▪ Her fear was escalating into panic. ▪ The fighting… …   Dictionary of contemporary English