[ fil-uh-buhs-ter ]
/ ˈfɪl əˌbʌs tər /
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See synonyms for: filibuster / filibustered / filibustering on Thesaurus.com

U.S. Politics.
  1. 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.
  2. an exceptionally long speech, as one lasting for a day or days, or a series of such speeches to accomplish this purpose.
  3. 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.
verb (used without object)
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.
verb (used with object)
U.S. Politics. to impede (legislation) by irregular or obstructive tactics, especially by making long speeches.
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Origin of filibuster

1580–90; <Spanish filibustero<Middle French flibustier, variant of fribustier;see freebooter


fil·i·bus·ter·er, nounfil·i·bus·ter·ism, nounfil·i·bus·ter·ous, adjectivean·ti·fil·i·bus·ter, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use filibuster in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for filibuster

/ (ˈfɪlɪˌbʌstə) /

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

Derived forms of filibuster

filibusterer, nounfilibusterism, noun

Word Origin for filibuster

C16: from Spanish filibustero, from French flibustier probably from Dutch vrijbuiter pirate, literally: one plundering freely; see freebooter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for filibuster

[ (fil-uh-bus-tuhr) ]

A strategy employed in the United States Senate, whereby a minority can delay a vote on proposed legislation by making long speeches or introducing irrelevant issues. A successful filibuster can force withdrawal of a bill. Filibusters can be ended only by cloture.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.