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English definition of “escalate”

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escalate

verb [I or T] uk   /ˈes.kə.leɪt/ us  
to become or make something become greater or more serious: His financial problems escalated after he became unemployed. The decision to escalate UN involvement has been made in the hopes of a swift end to the hostilities. The escalating rate of inflation will almost certainly bring escalating prices.
escalation
noun [C or U] uk   /ˌes.kəˈleɪ.ʃən/ us  
It's difficult to explain the recent escalation in/of violent crime.
(Definition of escalate from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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