From the former trademark Escalator, created by American inventor Charles Seeberger in 1900, from Latin e (from, out of) + scala (ladder) + -tor, which forms nouns of agency. See the appendix. Broader usage may be influenced by escalate. For an alternative etymology, see Online Etymology Dictionary.[1].


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɛs.kə.leɪ.tə/
  • (file)
  • (US) enPR: esʹkə-lā-tər, IPA(key): /ˈɛs.kə.leɪ.tɚ/
  • Hyphenation: es‧ca‧la‧tor
  • Rhymes: -eɪtə(ɹ)


escalator (plural escalators)

  1. Anything that escalates.
    • 2006, Dudley D. Cahn, Ruth Anna Abigail, Managing Conflict Through Communication (page xiv)
      Fourth, communication researchers study the role of stress and negative attitudes as key contributors to conflict, anger as an escalator of conflict, and emotional residues as barriers to reconciliation.
  2. A motor-driven mechanical device consisting of a continuous loop of steps that automatically conveys people from one floor to another.
    There is a plastic molly-guard covering the escalator's shutdown button to prevent little kids from pushing it and stopping the escalator.
    • 2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, pages xiv-xv, Preface:
      I found the Tube trains morbidly fascinating, I had a simpler enthusiasm for the escalators. Everyone likes going on escalators as far as I know. It feels like a free ride, and the longer they are, the better. The only escalator in York was at Marks & Spencer's, and people would hesitate for ages before getting on, apparently waiting for the right stair to come rolling along, whereas Londoners would step on while reading a newspaper.
    • 2021 June 30, Tim Dunn, “How we made... Secrets of the London Underground”, in RAIL, number 934, page 51:
      Episode Guide: [...] Episode 1 (July 13): Exploration of both ends of the abandoned branch between Holborn and Aldwych, including an interview with the driver of the last train. And a trip to Holloway Road to find out about the Tube's only spiral escalator. [This escalator never entered service]
  3. An upward or progressive course.
    • 2009 February 19, Froma Harrop, “Housing aid may revive American dream for Latinos”, in Houston Chronicle:
      Lots of people fell for the pitch that real estate was an up-only escalator into the American Dream
  4. An escalator clause.
    They agreed to a cost-of-living escalator.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2022), “escalator”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further readingEdit




Borrowed from English. Genericized trademark.



escalator m (plural escalators)

  1. escalator
    Synonyms: escalier roulant, escalier mécanique



From French escalator.


escalator n (plural escalatoare)

  1. escalator