filibuster

noun
fil·​i·​bus·​ter | \ˈfi-lə-ˌbə-stər \

Definition of filibuster 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an irregular military adventurer specifically : an American engaged in fomenting insurrections in Latin America in the mid-19th century

2 [ 2filibuster ]

a : the use of extreme dilatory (see dilatory sense 1) tactics (as by making long speeches) in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially in a legislative assembly

b : an instance of this practice The filibuster delayed the voting on the bill for over a week.

filibuster

verb
filibustered; filibustering\ ˈfi-​lə-​ˌbə-​st(ə-​)riŋ \

Definition of filibuster (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to carry out insurrectionist activities in a foreign country

2 : to engage in a filibuster

transitive verb

: to subject to a filibuster

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Other Words from filibuster

Verb

filibusterer \ ˈfi-​lə-​ˌbə-​stər-​ər \ noun

Examples of filibuster in a Sentence

Noun

They engaged in a filibuster that lasted for over a week.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Former Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid eliminated filibusters for lower court nominees, for instance, in 2013. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "With departure of swing vote, a pivotal moment for the Supreme Court," 28 June 2018 While Supreme Court filibusters were rare in the past, the mere threat meant that the White House and the nominee would try to build some bipartisan support. New York Times, "Denied a Filibuster, Democrats Eye Other Tactics in Supreme Court Fight," 28 June 2018 But actually getting the bill passed looks to be an uphill battle: Democrats have promised to filibuster in order to put off the final vote, and ending a filibuster would require a supermajority vote, which is hard to reach. refinery29.com, "The South Carolina Senate Voted To Outlaw Almost All Abortions," 3 May 2018 Louis County, said Senate Democrats will meet Tuesday to discuss whether to use the filibuster to block all legislation until impeachment proceedings begin. Jason Hancock, Allison Kite And Bryan Lowry, kansascity, "He gave Eric Greitens $2 million. Now he wants the governor to resign | The Kansas City Star," 12 Apr. 2018 More Obama appointees were blocked using the filibuster than under all previous presidents combined. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "The Death of Shame, or the Rise of Shamelessness?," 31 Jan. 2018 Gone is the filibuster rule that required 60 votes to move forward. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "Why Republicans Are Suddenly Thanking Harry Reid for a 2013 Tweet About Filibuster Reform," 28 June 2018 For a chief executive whose party controls the Senate, when a Supreme Court justice retires it’s like pulling four of a kind in poker — especially now that the GOP has abolished filibuster rules for Supreme Court confirmations. Liz Goodwin, BostonGlobe.com, "Kennedy’s retirement gives Trump another chance to make long-term impact," 28 June 2018 McConnell and his Republican colleagues lifted the filibuster rule during the 2017 nomination of current Justice Neil Gorsuch, meaning a simple majority is all that the GOP will need to push through the president's nominee. Abby Livingston And Emma Platoff, star-telegram, "Ted Cruz, John Cornyn likely to play big roles in picking Justice Anthony Kennedy's replacement," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When the Democrats filibustered Mr. Gorsuch’s nomination last year, Senate Republicans voted to remove another element of the minority party’s power to exert influence in the chamber, eliminating filibusters on Supreme Court nominees. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Republicans Can Confirm Kennedy’s Successor Without Democratic Votes," 29 June 2018 Democrats lacked the votes to filibuster, and their grilling of Gorsuch wasn’t so much an indictment of his credentials as a spasm against the skulduggery that got him there. Simon Van Zuylen-wood, Daily Intelligencer, "How Neil Gorsuch Became the Second-Most-Polarizing Man in Washington," 28 May 2018 Today the Senate, which has to operate on the basis of bipartisanship because Democrats can filibuster legislation that doesn’t operate under some sort of special rules, passed its own version of the Farm bill by a much broader 86-11 margin. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Senate Clears Farm Bill, Setting Up Fight With House GOP Over SNAP," 28 June 2018 Democrats’ parliamentary options are limited because Senate Republicans rescinded rules allowing Supreme Court nominations to be filibustered during Justice Gorsuch’s confirmation fight last year. Louise Radnofsky, WSJ, "Both Parties Mobilize for Supreme Court Battle Over Kennedy’s Successor," 28 June 2018 This was a shot at Democrats whom both Trump and Senate Republicans have accused of filibustering Trump’s nominees and hogging limited time on the Senate floor. Jason Samenow, Washington Post, "The nation’s weather and oceans agency has never gone this long without a confirmed leader," 25 Apr. 2018 Time and time again, the party in control of the Senate and White House saw their selections for powerful positions filibustered by their opponents in the minority. CBS News, "Nuclear option: Why Trump's Supreme Court pick needs only 51 votes," 9 July 2018 Eigel has been filibustering other legislation on the Senate floor, frustrated that his own bill hasn't passed. Allison Kite, kansascity, "With end of session in sight, Missouri lawmakers press forward on tax cuts | The Kansas City Star," 1 May 2018 In 2010, the bill died in the Senate after being filibustered by 41 senators, 36 of them Republican. Philip Bump, Washington Post, "Trump 'cannot believe' how badly Democrats treated the DACA recipients whose lives he upended," 16 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'filibuster.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of filibuster

Noun

1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1851, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for filibuster

Noun

Spanish filibustero, literally, freebooter

Verb

see filibuster entry 1

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Statistics for filibuster

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for filibuster

The first known use of filibuster was in 1851

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More Definitions for filibuster

filibuster

noun

English Language Learners Definition of filibuster

: an effort to prevent action in a legislature (such as the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives) by making a long speech or series of speeches

filibuster

noun
fil·​i·​bus·​ter | \ˈfi-lə-ˌbəs-tər \

Legal Definition of filibuster 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: the use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action especially in a legislative assembly also : an instance of this practice

filibuster

verb
filibustered; filibustering

Legal Definition of filibuster (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in a filibuster

transitive verb

: to subject to a filibuster

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