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crack·​down ˈkrak-ˌdau̇n How to pronounce crackdown (audio)
: an act or instance of cracking down

crack down

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cracked down; cracking down; cracks down

intransitive verb

: to take positive regulatory or disciplinary action

Example Sentences

Noun Companies that pollute are the target of a new crackdown.
Recent Examples on the Web
At least 326 protesters, including 43 children and 25 women, have been killed in a violent crackdown by security forces, according to Iran Human Rights. Yonat Friling, Fox News, 22 Nov. 2022 In the capital, Kyiv, people visited memorials to commemorate those who died in a violent crackdown on demonstrators in Maidan Square in February 2014. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2022 Officers arrested 14 people and seized thousands of fentanyl pills, $5,000 and a cap gun in a two-day undercover crackdown on street-level dealing and related assaults, stabbings and shootings in Portland’s core. oregonlive, 17 Nov. 2022 The shop closures came amid calls for a three-day national strike to mark earlier protests in 2019 against Iran’s theocracy that ended in a violent crackdown by authorities. John Gambrell, The Christian Science Monitor, 16 Nov. 2022 Iran has arrested more than 14,000 people in a crackdown since protests began across Iran in September, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman said earlier this month. Mostafa Salem, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 In Britain, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly announced similar sanctions against 24 Iranian officials involved in the crackdown against protests. David S. Cloud And Laurence Norman, WSJ, 14 Nov. 2022 The 16-year-old girls were killed by the Iranian security services in a crackdown on the protests that have rocked the country for the past month. Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times, 13 Oct. 2022 Tens of thousands of Nicaraguans have fled the country in the crackdown that followed massive street protests in April 2018. Gabriela Selser, ajc, 5 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1935, in the meaning defined above


1939, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crackdown was in 1935

Dictionary Entries Near crackdown

crack down



Cite this Entry

“Crackdown.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

crack down


: to take strong action especially to control or put down
crack down on crime

More from Merriam-Webster on crackdown

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