fil·​i·​bus·​ter | \ ˈfi-lə-ˌbə-stər How to pronounce filibuster (audio) \

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 [filibuster entry 2]
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.


filibustered; filibustering\ ˈfi-​lə-​ˌbə-​st(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce filibuster (audio) \

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

Other Words from filibuster


filibusterer \ ˈfi-​lə-​ˌbə-​stər-​ər How to pronounce filibuster (audio) \ 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 The death blow came in January, when the Senate voted not to change filibuster rules, preventing a vote from taking place. Nathan Heller, Vogue, 22 June 2022 Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema reiterated their support for the filibuster, damaging hopes for voting rights legislation. New York Times, 14 Jan. 2022 The Congressional Review Act allows for congressional disapproval of major regulations without any opportunity for filibuster. Kate Shaw, Time, 5 Nov. 2021 White House press secretary Jen Psaki demurred Tuesday when asked about support for the filibuster. Trish Turner, ABC News, 20 Oct. 2021 Despite months of work, a bill that was backed by a majority of senators, fell to a filibuster — unable to to overcome the 60-vote threshold needed to advance. Zeke Miller And Chris Megerian, Anchorage Daily News, 25 May 2022 And that brings us back to the filibuster, a subject about which Democrats may reverse themselves yet again after November. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 13 May 2022 The bill stands no chance of becoming law under the current Congress and would almost certainly fall to a filibuster even if the GOP retakes both chambers this fall. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 12 May 2022 However, his legislation fell victim to a filibuster. NBC News, 4 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democratic efforts to pass a sweeping voting rights bill appear doomed after the Senate failed to pass a change to filibuster rules that would have dropped the 60-vote threshold needed to end debate on the bill. Nicholas Reimann, Forbes, 20 Jan. 2022 Manchin has expressed support to do away with one of the opportunities to filibuster a bill, but not all of them. Jennifer Haberkorn Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 Jan. 2022 Without a change to filibuster rules, Republicans could block 2 voting rights bills in the Senate. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2022 Joe Biden — threatened to filibuster her nomination. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 Republicans might then be expected to try to filibuster the nomination, or thwart its passage by demanding never-ending debate. Madison Alder,, 25 Feb. 2022 In recent decades, a senator merely signaling his or her intent to filibuster a piece of legislation has been enough to stop action on a bill. Libby Cathey, ABC News, 11 Jan. 2022 Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced in a letter to his colleagues this week that the chamber would vote by Jan. 17 on whether to change the Senate rules if Republicans filibuster voting rights legislation in the coming days. Max Ufberg, Fortune, 5 Jan. 2022 But if some Republicans filibuster the legislation, Democrats would need 10 Republicans to join them in overcoming the hurdle to approve the bill. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of filibuster


1851, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1851, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for filibuster

Noun and Verb

Spanish filibustero, literally, freebooter

Learn More About filibuster

Time Traveler for filibuster

Time Traveler

The first known use of filibuster was in 1851

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near filibuster




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for filibuster

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Filibuster.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for filibuster


fil·​i·​bus·​ter | \ ˈfi-lə-ˌbəs-tər How to pronounce filibuster (audio) \

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


filibustered; filibustering

Legal Definition of filibuster (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to engage in a filibuster

transitive verb

: to subject to a filibuster


Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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