Escalator

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Dr. Goodword
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Escalator

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Aug 10, 2022 7:31 pm

• escalate •


Pronunciation: es-kê-layt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To increase, enlarge, or intensify. 2. To pass upward in an organizational hierarchy. 3. To use an escalator.

Notes: The adjective for the first two senses only is escalatory. The action noun is the expectable escalation. An escalade is either the mounting of a fortress wall or a series of terraces one above the other, like Far Eastern rice terraces.

In Play: The most widely used sense of today's word is the first above: "Rodney Snodgrass simply escalated his advances on June McBride after she rejected his proposal." This despite the fact that the first sense of this word is the third one above: "I'll escalate to the second floor and see if they have any shelf-stretchers there and meet you later in the coffee shop."

Word History: Today's Good Word seems to have been a back-formation from escalator, named by its inventor, Charles Seeberger, in 1900. He created it from Latin e(x) "(out) from" + scala "ladder, staircase" + -tor, a common Latin personal and instrumental noun suffix. He appropriately Latinized it so that it seems to have derived from Latin escalare, which never existed. Scala comes from the verb scandere "to climb, mount, ascend", from PIE skan-d- "to spring, leap, climb", source also of Sanskrit skandati "leaps, jumps, Greek skandalon "stumbling block", and Latin ascendere, from ad "(up) to" + scandere to climb". (Yet again we thank wordmaster Lew Jury who, since 2005, has showered us with an escalating array of Good Words as interesting as today's.)
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Philip Hudson
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Re: Escalator

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Aug 11, 2022 11:23 pm

We call these moving stairs escalators whether they are moving upward or downward. The same kind of use is employed in elevators or the British lift. There is a book titled "Up the Down Staircase". It took place in a school. If one is three sheets to the wind, he/she might not know up from down. Is upside down equivalent to downside up? Then there is head-over-heels. One might think that would be a normal position to be in. But no, head-over-heels really means heels-over-head. It tends to make me a mite dizzy. Perhaps even initiating vertigo. At its worst It puts me in a mental maelstrom. Help!!
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David Myer
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Re: Escalator

Postby David Myer » Fri Aug 12, 2022 11:45 pm

Nice one, Philip. :lol:

And I suppose this is relevant to my suggestion under 'Crescent'. An escalator (and an elevator) should take you only upwards. A crescent moon should be only a growing one.

Philip Hudson
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Re: Escalator

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Aug 21, 2022 11:14 am

Thanks for the laughing icon, David.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.


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