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

In a series of tweets on Tuesday afternoon, Michigan State Police announced their latest crackdown on speeding motorists and bad drivers. Dixita Limbachia, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State Police targeting speeders, bad drivers on 4 metro Detroit freeways," 28 Aug. 2019 This is straight from the playbook Beijing used in its 1989 crackdown on the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Helen Raleigh, National Review, "The End of Hong Kong as We Know It," 15 Aug. 2019 Some opponents of the administration blame its immigration crackdown for deterring people from contacting law enforcement. Nomaan Merchant,, "ICE raid on suburban Chicago company’s plant in Mississippi raises the question: What about the employers?," 14 Aug. 2019 Some opponents of the administration blame its immigration crackdown for deterring people from contacting law enforcement. Fortune, "ICE Raids Raise Question: What About the Employers That Profit Off Unauthorized Workers?," 14 Aug. 2019 The sweeps occurred as federal authorities introduced their own crackdown that morning. Evan Sernoffsky,, "The Scanner: Crackdown in SF’s Tenderloin leads to scores of arrests," 12 Aug. 2019 On Sunday night, Hong Kong police intensified their crackdown with new and more aggressive tactics after more than two months of sustained protests and more than 600 arrests. Anchorage Daily News, "Protesters shut down Hong Kong airport; China warns of ‘terrorism,’ raising fears of military crackdown," 12 Aug. 2019 But the Crown Prince’s attempts to cast himself as a modernizing reformer have been undermined by his simultaneous crackdowns on dissident voices, and mounting criticism of Saudi Arabia’s role in the disastrous war in Yemen. Joseph Hincks, Time, "Saudi Arabia Is Introducing Landmark Reforms for Women. But the Activists Who Pushed For Them Remain in Prison," 5 Aug. 2019 Even some who gave Trump credit for the economy or backed his crackdown on immigration acknowledged they were troubled or uncomfortable lining up behind the president. Scott Bauer, The Denver Post, "Suburban women recoil as Trump dives back into racially divisive rhetoric," 30 July 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of crackdown


1935, in the meaning defined above


1939, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about crackdown

Statistics for crackdown

Last Updated

29 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for crackdown

The first known use of crackdown was in 1935

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to fake an opponent out of position

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!