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How to pronounce escalate (audio)


Monster Trucks in Space

Dictionary definition of escalate

To increase in intensity, extent, or scope, often in a rapid or exponential manner.
"The argument started to escalate as both parties became more emotional."


Detailed meaning of escalate

When a situation or conflict 'escalates,' it indicates that it is becoming more severe, serious, or complex over time. This term is commonly used to describe various scenarios, such as conflicts, disputes, or tensions that escalate into more significant confrontations, or costs that escalate in a project budget. 'Escalate' underscores the idea of a gradual or sudden rise in intensity, often with the potential to lead to further complications or consequences. It emphasizes the need for attention and intervention to manage or mitigate the growing challenges or issues within a situation.

Example sentences containing escalate

1. Don't let the conflict escalate; we should resolve it peacefully.
2. Tensions between the two countries may escalate if diplomacy fails.
3. If you don't intervene now, the situation might escalate.
4. The disagreement began to escalate into a full-blown argument.
5. It's crucial to avoid actions that might escalate the crisis.
6. We need to take steps to ensure that the problem doesn't escalate.

History and etymology of escalate

The verb 'escalate' has its origins in the Spanish word 'escalar,' which means 'to climb' or 'to scale.' The term was first used in the context of military operations, particularly during the mid-20th century. During this time, it referred to the rapid and often uncontrolled increase in the scale and intensity of military conflicts, such as the escalation of the Vietnam War. The concept of 'escalation' implied a climb or increase in the level of intensity or scope, much like ascending to a higher point. As 'escalate' made its way into English, it retained this sense of increasing in intensity, extent, or scope, often in a rapid or exponential manner. 'Escalate' is now commonly used in a broader context to describe the increase or intensification of various situations, not limited to military conflicts. The etymology of 'escalate' underscores its historical association with the idea of climbing or rising, emphasizing the notion of rapid and significant increase.

Quiz: Find the meaning of escalate

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Further usage examples of escalate

1. He has a tendency to escalate minor issues into major confrontations.
2. If costs continue to escalate, we'll have to revise our budget.
3. Without effective management, small misunderstandings can escalate quickly.
4. In this situation, it's best not to escalate matters further.
5. I'm worried that their rivalry might escalate into something more serious.
6. The boss's intervention helped to prevent the dispute from escalating.
7. It's important to keep calm so that we don't escalate the tension.
8. If we escalate this issue to higher management, we might get a faster resolution.
9. We have to stop this before it escalates into a war.
10. Prices tend to escalate when demand exceeds supply.
11. To prevent the conflict from escalating, the negotiator was called in.
12. It's vital that we de-escalate the situation rather than letting it escalate.
13. The government has been trying to control the escalating situation in the country.
14. Our discussion began to escalate, and we knew it was time to take a break.



intensify, decrease, diminish, reduce


Consequences and Reactions, Challenges and Difficulties, Conflict and Disagreement, Chaos and Conflict, Danger and Threat, Strategic Planning and Execution, Conflict and Conquest

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