1. increase rapidly, bring an issue to someone of a higher rank






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escalate costs/a complaint/issue

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The verb to escalate can mean to increase and in number or volume rapidly. Someone's temperature might escalate if they are sick, for example, or the numbers of people in employment could escalate. If something escalates it can also become more serious or pressing. So a problem can escalate or tension can escalate, for example. To escalate a problem/matter/complaint can mean to involve someone higher up or more senior in order to address a problem.

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  1. Gary's financial problems have been escalating ever since he became unemployed.
  2. There are growing fears that instability in the region could escalate into a full-blown war between the neighbouring states.

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  1. Unsatisfied with the initial response she had received, the customer escalated her complaint in the hope that someone at a higher level would be able to resolve her issue.
  2. Escalating costs have meant that the project has been put on hold until additional funding can be secured.

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