clamp down


  1. a device, usually of some rigid material, for strengthening or supporting objects or fastening them together.
  2. an appliance with opposite sides or parts that may be adjusted or brought closer together to hold or compress something.
  3. one of a pair of movable pieces, made of lead or other soft material, for covering the jaws of a vise and enabling it to grasp without bruising.
  4. Also called clamp rail. Carpentry. a rail having a groove or a number of mortises for receiving the ends of a number of boards to bind them into a flat piece, as a drawing board or door.
  5. Nautical.
    1. a horizontal timber in a wooden hull, secured to ribs to support deck beams and to provide longitudinal strength.
    2. mast clamp.

verb (used with object)

  1. to fasten with or fix in a clamp.

Verb Phrases

  1. clamp down, to become more strict: There were too many tax loopholes, so the government clamped down.
  2. clamp down on, to impose or increase controls on.

verb (intr, adverb often foll by on)

  1. to behave repressively; attempt to repress something regarded as undesirable

noun clampdown

  1. a sudden restrictive measure


  1. a mechanical device with movable jaws with which an object can be secured to a bench or with which two objects may be secured together
  2. See also wheel clamp
  3. a means by which a fixed joint may be strengthened
  4. nautical a horizontal beam fastened to the ribs for supporting the deck beams in a wooden vessel

verb (tr)

  1. to fix or fasten with or as if with a clamp
  2. to immobilize (a car) by means of a wheel clamp
  3. to inflict or impose forcefullythey clamped a curfew on the town


  1. a mound formed out of a harvested root crop, covered with straw and earth to protect it from winter weather
  2. a pile of bricks ready for processing in a furnace


  1. (tr) to enclose (a harvested root crop) in a mound

device for fastening, c.1300, probably from clamb, perhaps originally past tense of climb (v.), or from Middle Dutch clampe (Dutch klamp), from West Germanic *klamp- “clamp, cleat;” cf. Middle Low German klampe “clasp, hook,” Old High German klampfer “clip, clamp;” also probably related to Middle Dutch klamme “a clamp, hook, grapple,” Danish klamme “a clamp, cramp,” Old English clamm “fetter;” see clam (n.).


“to fasten with a clamp,” 1670s, from clamp (n.). Related: Clamped; clamping.


  1. An instrument for the compression or grasping of a structure.

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