• synonyms

moving stairway

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  1. escalator(def 1).

Origin of moving stairway

First recorded in 1905–10
Also called moving staircase.


  1. Also called moving staircase, moving stairway. a continuously moving stairway on an endless loop for carrying passengers up or down.
  2. a means of rising or descending, increasing or decreasing, etc., especially by stages: the social escalator.
  3. escalator clause.
  1. of, relating to, or included in an escalator clause: The union demands escalator protection of wages.

Origin of escalator

1895–1900, Americanism; formerly a trademark; perhaps escal(ade) + (elev)ator
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for moving staircase

moving staircase

moving stairway

  1. less common terms for escalator (def. 1)


  1. a moving staircase consisting of stair treads fixed to a conveyor belt, for transporting passengers between levels, esp between the floors of a building
  2. short for escalator clause

Word Origin

C20: originally a trademark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for moving staircase



1900, American English, trade name of an Otis Elevator Co. moving staircase, coined from escalade + -ator in elevator. Figurative use is from 1927.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper