- U.S. Politics.
- the use of irregular or obstructive tactics by a member of a legislative assembly to prevent the adoption of a measure generally favored or to force a decision against the will of the majority.
- an exceptionally long speech, as one lasting for a day or days, or a series of such speeches to accomplish this purpose.
- a member of a legislature who makes such a speech.
- an irregular military adventurer, especially one who engages in an unauthorized military expedition into a foreign country to foment or support a revolution.
- U.S. Politics. to impede legislation by irregular or obstructive tactics, especially by making long speeches.
- to act as an irregular military adventurer, especially for revolutionary purposes.
- U.S. Politics. to impede (legislation) by irregular or obstructive tactics, especially by making long speeches.
Origin of filibuster
Related Wordsprocrastination, interference, postponement, delay, opposition, hindrance, stonewalling, talkathon
Examples from the Web for filibuster
When the former engaged in his drone filibuster, Cruz showed up in support; ditto for Paul when Cruz held an Obamacare filibuster.Rand Paul Beats Ted Cruz, Saves NSA From ‘Reform’
Tim Mak, Olivia Nuzzi
November 19, 2014
The Democrats did not by themselves have the votes to defeat a Southern filibuster in the Senate.Lyndon Johnson’s Last Miracle: The Civil Rights Act Turns 50
July 2, 2014
Paul has altered the national conversation once before, with his filibuster on drones.Rand Paul’s Comments on GOP Voter-ID Laws Mark a Turning Point
May 13, 2014
Senate Democrats failed in their effort to end a filibuster on a bill that would raise minimum wage to $10.10 on Wednesday.Groundhog Day With Minimum Wage On Capitol Hill
April 30, 2014
Two big matters in particular: the filibuster, and presidential nominations.Here’s What Happens When the GOP Takes Over the Senate
April 30, 2014
And now this other filibuster has bought you, and you belong to him.Captain Blood
Had he failed, he would have been stigmatized as a filibuster.
Had it eventuated in failure, its leader would have been pronounced a pirate and filibuster.
And are there still gobemouches in England who believe in the Filibuster?Tony Butler
Charles James Lever
It may come from a rival—from the buccaneer, the filibuster, or the cannibal.A Romance of the West Indies
- the process or an instance of obstructing legislation by means of long speeches and other delaying tactics
- Also called: filibusterer a legislator who engages in such obstruction
- a buccaneer, freebooter, or irregular military adventurer, esp a revolutionary in a foreign country
- to obstruct (legislation) with delaying tactics
- (intr) to engage in unlawful and private military action
Word Origin and History for filibuster
1580s, flibutor "pirate," probably ultimately from Dutch vrijbuiter "freebooter," a word which used of pirates in the West Indies in Spanish (filibustero) and French (flibustier) forms, either or both of which gave the word to American English (see freebooter).
Used 1850s and '60s of lawless adventurers from the U.S. who tried to overthrow Central American governments. The legislative sense is not in Bartlett (1859) and seems not to have been in use in U.S. legislative writing before 1865. Probably the extension in sense is because obstructionist legislators "pirated" debate or overthrew the usual order of authority. Not technically restricted to U.S. Senate, but that's where the strategy works best.
1853 in both the freebooting and the legislative senses, from filibuster (n.). Related: Filibustered; filibustering.