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

Examples of crackdown in a Sentence


Companies that pollute are the target of a new crackdown.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Looming even more prominently over the ceremony was President Trump’s push for an immigration crackdown, the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Trump administration’s travel ban and the outcry over family separations at the border. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, "Immigrants Take Oath at Monticello, Feeling the Weight of the Past," 4 July 2018 Of them, about 2,000 have been separated from their parents since April, when the government crackdown took effect. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "People ask #WhereAreTheGirls as immigration crisis heightens," 19 June 2018 The government crackdown on protests has sparked international outrage. Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Nicaragua university students under attack as they lead political uprising against Ortega," 8 June 2018 But in recent weeks, more than 100 protesters have been killed amid citizen demonstrations and a violent government crackdown. Whitney Eulich, The Christian Science Monitor, "Briefing: Why violence has flared in Nicaragua," 7 June 2018 But when Chinese authorities intensified an anticorruption crackdown in 2015 that put traveling high-rollers on notice, gamblers began looking online—a venue that... Jake Maxwell Watts, WSJ, "Virtual Casinos Deliver a Tricky Jackpot to the Philippines," 19 Mar. 2019 The crackdown in Harare had led to speculation about whether Mnangagwa, a former Mugabe confidant with close ties to the military, was aware that the army was moving in or was in fact not in full control of the security forces. Farai Mutsaka, The Seattle Times, "Zimbabwe inquiry finds army, police killed 6 during protest," 19 Dec. 2018 Makonda — the regional governor who’s leading the current crackdown in Dar es Salaam — has been among the most vocal anti-LGBT leaders in the country. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Tanzania’s anti-gay crackdown is sending people into hiding," 9 Nov. 2018 The unrest that began in 2016 with teachers and lawyers demanding respect for the regions' English education and justice systems led to a government crackdown and the emergence of armed separatists seeking an English-speaking state. Fox News, "Women protest abuses in Cameroon Anglophone separatist fight," 7 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for crackdown

Last Updated

26 May 2019

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Time Traveler for crackdown

The first known use of crackdown was in 1935

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on crackdown

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with crackdown

Spanish Central: Translation of crackdown

Nglish: Translation of crackdown for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of crackdown for Arabic Speakers

Comments on crackdown

What made you want to look up crackdown? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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