filibuster

noun
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.

filibuster

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

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Other Words from filibuster

Verb

filibusterer \ ˈfi-​lə-​ˌbə-​stər-​ər How to pronounce filibusterer (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 Advocates from a group called 51 for 51 traveled the country over the past year getting presidential candidates — including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — to commit to supporting statehood and an exception to the filibuster. Washington Post, "House of Representatives scheduled to vote on D.C. statehood Friday," 26 June 2020 In fact, statehood will not pass the Senate unless a Democratic Senate majority kills the filibuster. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "D.C. Statehood Is a Test of Biden’s Political Courage," 26 June 2020 Activists have called for eliminating the filibuster in the Senate in order to push D.C. statehood through, since that would remove the 60-vote threshold and allow the Senate to approve the measure with only 51 votes. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House approves measure to make Washington, D.C. a state," 26 June 2020 One obstacle is the Senate filibuster, which constrains partisan majorities by requiring 60 votes for most legislation. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Filibuster Is Going, Going . . .," 25 June 2020 Without Democratic cooperation, the GOP bill is likely to face a filibuster that will prevent the Senate from taking up the bill. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Mitch McConnell tries to jam Senate Democrats on police reform," 17 June 2020 The mere filing of the motion amounts to a filibuster, in essence. Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books, "Biden’s Journey Left," 4 June 2020 Perhaps come November, Democrats will win the White House, and enough of a Senate majority to eliminate the filibuster. Lee Drutman, The New Republic, "How Democracy Dies at the Ballot Box," 18 June 2020 Activists have called for eliminating the filibuster in the Senate in order to push D.C. statehood through, since that would remove the 60-vote threshold and allow the Senate to approve the measure with only 51 votes. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House to vote on D.C. statehood next week," 16 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Last year, legislators tried to set up the regulations and tax rates, but former Sen. Danny Martiny, who had reached his terms limit in the senate, filibustered during the last moments of the session and blocked the effort. David Jacobs, Washington Examiner, "Louisiana lawmakers prepare to finish one session and start another," 1 June 2020 Last week, the central government's top representative in the city, the Liaison Office, publicly criticized pro-democracy lawmakers for filibustering in the city's legislature. James Griffiths, CNN, "As coronavirus crisis passes, Hong Kong might be set for more mass protests," 20 Apr. 2020 Patten also addressed the ongoing row over Beijing officials openly criticizing pro-democracy lawmakers and accusing them of misconduct in public office with their filibustering in Legco, reported RTIHK in Hong Kong. Zen Soo, The Christian Science Monitor, "U.S. condemns arrests of top Hong Kong democracy advocates," 19 Apr. 2020 Pro-Brexit peers in the Lords are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering until time runs out. Danica Kirka, BostonGlobe.com, "UK House of Commons passes bill to block no-deal Brexit," 4 Sep. 2019 Democrats then tried to filibuster Judge Gorsuch for purely political reasons, all but inviting Republicans to extend the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominees. Brian Riedl, National Review, "Senate Republicans Are Not ‘Obstructionist’," 9 Jan. 2020 The bill was approved by the House of Commons on Wednesday, but faced trouble in Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, where pro-Brexit members planned to defeat it by filibustering — talking until time ran out. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Boris Johnson's brother quits Parliament over Brexit impasse as prime minister accuses opposition of ‘cowardly insult to democracy’," 6 Sep. 2019 However, the Republican Congress in the last many years have filibustered everything so that 60 votes became the vote. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Harry Reid wants to kill the Senate filibuster to solve climate change," 8 Aug. 2019 Republican legislators have effectively filibustered the bill. Kerry Picket, Washington Examiner, "Democratic-controlled Washington state legislature fails to pass two major gun control bills," 20 Feb. 2020

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 and Verb

Spanish filibustero, literally, freebooter

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Time Traveler for filibuster

Time Traveler

The first known use of filibuster was in 1851

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Statistics for filibuster

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Filibuster.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/filibuster. Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for filibuster

filibuster

noun
How to pronounce filibuster (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of filibuster

chiefly US : 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 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

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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