v. es·ca·lat·ed, es·ca·lat·ing, es·ca·lates
To increase in intensity, extent, or amount: tensions that escalated into violence.
1. To increase, enlarge, or intensify: escalated the hostilities in the Persian Gulf.
2. To pass (a transaction or case) on to a higher level in an organizational hierarchy: escalated the customer's complaint.
[Back-formation from ESCALATOR.]
esca·la·to′ry (-lə-tôr′ē) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.