- to increase in intensity, magnitude, etc.: to escalate a war; a time when prices escalate.
- to raise, lower, rise, or descend on or as if on an escalator.
Origin of escalate
First recorded in 1920–25; back formation from escalator
SynonymsSee more synonyms for escalate on Thesaurus.com
1. advance, mount, swell.
1. lower, decrease, fall.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for escalatory
The escalatory ladder is far more terrifying than it was on the eve of the millennium.ICYMI: India-Pakistan Head for Nuke War
October 20, 2014
Yet if he retaliates with more economic sanctions or some military move, Pyongyang might start climbing the escalatory ladder.War Looms for Obama in Iran, Syria, and North Korea
Leslie H. Gelb
April 12, 2012
- to increase or be increased in extent, intensity, or magnitudeto escalate a war; prices escalated because of inflation
C20: back formation from escalator
Word Origin and History for escalatory
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper