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claw·​back ˈklȯ-ˌbak How to pronounce clawback (audio)
plural clawbacks
: the act or an instance of getting back money or benefits previously given out: such as
: the recovery of tax allowances by additional taxation
Next year sees the resumption of a 3% clawback that penalizes most upper-bracket taxpayers.William Baldwin
: the reclaiming of money or benefits under special circumstances stipulated in a contract
usually used before another noun
He suggested a clawback provision that would allow companies to demand the return of compensation tied to performance if it turned out that a company's stock performance was inflated by bad business practices or malfeasance.Loren Steffy
Criticism of the large bonuses awarded during federally funded bailouts spurred many banks to adopt clawback measures.Joann S. Lublin et al.

claw back

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clawed back; clawing back; claws back

transitive verb

: to get back (something) usually by strenuous effort or forceful means : regain
… the street is becoming a high-profile example of how Iraqi National Guard troops … can claw back territory from insurgents.Scott Peterson
Union activists have been knocking on members' doors, standing at the gates of steel mills and generally trying to claw back votes from 2016 …Trip Gabriel
: to recover (money or benefits) especially by putting into effect additional taxation or clawback provisions
If finance ministers do approve exceptional increases for farm spending, the extra will have to be clawed back in the next two years.The Economist
But unbeknownst to you, the drug actually cost only $7, and the pharmacy benefits manager claws back the extra $3.Sydney Lupkin

Examples of clawback in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Attempting to quell public outrage, Qantas kept aside A$2.2 million of Joyce’s short-term bonus for the fiscal year ended June 30, while a chunk of his long-term bonuses are subject to clawback, the carrier said in a statement accompanying its annual report released Wednesday. Angus Whitley, Fortune, 20 Sep. 2023 Getting a clawback provision to President Biden’s desk was a good first start. James Broughel, National Review, 29 June 2023 But the left-leaning group criticized the state for not beginning potential clawbacks until 2028, instead of 2025, when Intel says the plant will begin operations. cleveland, 17 July 2023 There needs to be a clawback of executive compensation and for tougher rules on bank executives who have failed banks. CBS News, 30 Apr. 2023 The company must create and maintain the jobs or face a clawback of the funds. Tim Higgins, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2022 The group would also like the state to ink a clawback deal over $700 million in state funds to pay for roads and other infrastructure around the plant, Ohio Capital Journal’s Marty Schladen reports. cleveland, 17 July 2023 Areas of compromise might include clawbacks of unused COVID funds, speeding up the permitting process and adding work requirements for some social programs. Sarah Ewall-Wice, CBS News, 15 May 2023 The program, previewed by Ms. Monaco during an American Bar Association conference in Miami, allows companies to use executive-pay clawbacks to offset some of the financial penalties imposed on them when their employees violate the law. Dylan Tokar, WSJ, 2 Mar. 2023
The Ducks took a 14-7 lead in the third but the Buckeyes again clawed back and tied it at 20 before five straight points from Oregon, which got kills from Gonzales, McGhee, Pukis and Lewis during the run. oregonlive, 10 Sep. 2023 Chaos tried to claw back, but the deficit was too big to overcome. Trevor Hass,, 4 Sep. 2023 As the invasion passes the year and a half mark and Kyiv’s counteroffensive claws back territory bit by bit, many Western officials and analysts warn of a potential impasse, in which no one wins or surrenders, nor is willing to sit at a negotiating table. David L. Stern, Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2023 Under the new rule, the federal government is anticipated to claw back more than $4 billion from insurance companies over the next decade. Ana Rocío Álvarez Bríñez, The Courier-Journal, 1 Sep. 2023 The organization did not comment on whether the excess funding was clawed back. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Aug. 2023 The city’s attempt to claw back the images was roundly denounced as legally meritless by constitutional and media-rights experts, and a coalition of media organizations including The Times filed a legal motion asking the court to reject the city’s efforts. Libor Jany, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2023 The nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, sits on the front lines in the southern region of Zaporizhzhia, less than 100 miles from a cluster of villages Ukraine has managed to claw back from Russian control in recent weeks. Simon Shuster, Time, 1 Aug. 2023 It was based only on a preliminary review of arguments in the case, in which the city is seeking to take down the website and claw back the photos. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clawback.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1962, in the meaning defined above


1852, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of clawback was in 1852

Dictionary Entries Near clawback

Cite this Entry

“Clawback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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