Meaning of “escalate” in the English Dictionary

"escalate" in British English

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escalateverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈes.kə.leɪt/ us /ˈes.kə.leɪt/
noun [ C or U ] uk /ˌes.kəˈleɪ.ʃən/ us /ˌes.kəˈleɪ.ʃən/

It's difficult to explain the recent escalation in/of violent crime.

(Definition of “escalate” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"escalate" in American English

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escalateverb [ I/T ]

us /ˈes·kəˌleɪt/

to make or become greater or more serious:

[ T ] Sending in more troops would escalate the war.
[ I ] Our costs escalated considerably over the next few years.
adjective [ not gradable ] us /ˈes·kəˌleɪ·t̬ɪŋ/

escalating tensions/prices

(Definition of “escalate” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"escalate" in Business English

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escalateverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˈeskəleɪt/ us

to become more important or serious, or to make something do this:

a problem/crisis/dispute escalates Mediation can be used to settle disputes at an early stage and stop problems escalating.
escalate a problem/matter/complaint If the customer remains dissatisfied with the response, they may then escalate the complaint.

to rise or to make something rise:

price/cost/demand escalates As prices escalated, fewer people could afford a mortgage on a house.
escalate costs/prices It was suggested that the UV coating on the windows would escalate the cost of the original plan.

the escalation in/of prices
The problem needs to be addressed immediately in order to avoid an escalation.

(Definition of “escalate” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)