Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1900-2000
Origin: escalator

escalate

verb
     
es‧ca‧late [intransitive and transitive]
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 on the border is escalating.
We do not want to escalate the war.
2 to become higher or increase, or to make something do this:
The costs were escalating alarmingly.
policies that escalate their own costs
escalating crime
escalation noun [uncountable and countable]
the escalation of fighting in June
a rapid escalation in value

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