escalate

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escalate into (something)

To worsen into a new situation or problem. What he thinks is a moment of constructive criticism often escalates into an argument with his daughter. Please don't let this little squabble escalate into a major rift between you two.
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escalate into something

to intensify into something; to increase gradually into something. This argument is going to escalate into something serious very soon. These cases of the flu could escalate into a real epidemic.
See also: escalate

escalate something into something

to cause something to intensify. He escalated the argument into a vicious fight. The dictator tried to escalate the disagreement into a cause for war.
See also: escalate