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See more synonyms for escalator on Thesaurus.com
  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.
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  1. of, relating to, or included in an escalator clause: The union demands escalator protection of wages.
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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

Examples from the Web for escalator

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • When the shooting started, he went charging up the escalator.

    Space Viking

    Henry Beam Piper

  • He cut to the right, running toward the escalator to the second floor.

    Monkey On His Back

    Charles V. De Vet

  • With no break in pace he veered into an opening beside the escalator.

    Monkey On His Back

    Charles V. De Vet

  • He was studying them so intently that he forgot his escalator was landing.

  • He pulled Maida toward the head of an escalator a dozen feet away.

    Tarrano the Conqueror

    Raymond King Cummings

British Dictionary definitions for escalator


  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
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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 escalator


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper