crack·​down | \ ˈkrak-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce crackdown (audio) \

Definition of crackdown

 (Entry 1 of 2)
: an act or instance of cracking down

crack down

cracked down; cracking down; cracks down
Definition of crack down (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to take positive regulatory or disciplinary action

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Examples of crackdown in a Sentence

Noun Companies that pollute are the target of a new crackdown.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Food and Drug Administration told the e-cigarette maker to stop selling its fruity, disposable vaporizers, as part of a broader crackdown on underage vaping. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Warren’s Wealth Tax and the Return of Feudalism," 3 Mar. 2021 On Sunday, Dawei was the scene of a violent crackdown, with up to five people killed when security forces shot into a large crowd of demonstrators. Fox News, "Burma protesters take to streets day after deadly crackdown," 2 Mar. 2021 And as protests continue, the prospect of a bloodier crackdown remains. Washington Post, "Myanmar’s coup is awkward for China," 24 Feb. 2021 While some of this crackdown can be attributed to better reviewing by people and technology, there is more context to the changing values. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "How Covid-19 lockdowns weakened Facebook’s content moderation algorithms," 24 Feb. 2021 Members of Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), however, have defended the use of the law and rejected any suggestion of a crackdown on dissent. NBC News, "Disha Ravi: Indian climate activist becomes symbol of crackdown on dissent," 20 Feb. 2021 The reference to abuses against Uighurs, which Beijing has long denied despite mounting evidence of a brutal crackdown, could tarnish the recent warming of relations between the Vatican and China. Gaia Pianigiani, New York Times, "Pope Calls Uighurs ‘Persecuted,’ Prompting Pushback From China," 24 Nov. 2020 Fear has been triggered in part by signs of a crackdown out of Beijing, my CNN Business colleague Laura He reports. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "It's a big day for Alibaba. You wouldn't know from its stock," 11 Nov. 2020 Just last weekend, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and several other law enforcement agencies stopped more than 150 drivers as part of a crackdown on street racing in downtown Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Drivers blocked freeway lanes late Sunday in Richfield, doing burnouts and shooting off fireworks," 2 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'crackdown.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of crackdown


1935, in the meaning defined above


1939, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for crackdown Time Traveler

The first known use of crackdown was in 1935

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Statistics for crackdown

Last Updated

9 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Crackdown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for crackdown



English Language Learners Definition of crackdown

: a serious attempt to punish people for doing something that is not allowed : an increased effort to enforce a law or rule

More from Merriam-Webster on crackdown

Nglish: Translation of crackdown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crackdown for Arabic Speakers

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