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Back-formation from escalator.


  • (UK, US) enPR: esʹ kə lāt, IPA(key): /ˈɛs.kə.leɪt/
  • (nonstandard) IPA(key): /ˈɛs.kjə.leɪt/
  • (file)


escalate (third-person singular simple present escalates, present participle escalating, simple past and past participle escalated)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To increase (something) in extent or intensity; to intensify or step up.
    Violence escalated during the election.
    The shooting escalated the existing hostility.
    • 2020 May 6, Philip Haigh, “Just one more stop on the long journey to HS2 fulfillment [sic]”, in Rail, page 65:
      "Operating the WCML at this intensity makes it challenging to maintain acceptable performance levels, resulting in a frustratingly unreliable service for passengers. Minor disruption can escalate into significant delays because a train running only a few minutes late can miss its slot across a junction, resulting in a snowballing effect across the network."
  2. (transitive) In technical support, to transfer a customer, a problem, etc. to the next higher level of authority
    The tech 1 escalated the caller to a tech 2.

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