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

That’s because Republicans need Democratic votes to overcome a filibuster on most legislation, so lobbyists with ties to both parties in the Senate are generally in demand. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "K Street Lobbying Shops Anticipating Democratic House," 6 July 2018 Republicans last year eliminated the 60-vote barrier to setting a vote for Supreme Court nominees, leaving Democrats without the tool of a filibuster. Laura Litvan, Bloomberg.com, "Senate Democrats Have Little Chance to Delay Trump’s Court Pick," 28 June 2018 Nevertheless, a celebration of the anniversary of that filibuster is planned Thursday in Fort Worth, the place where Davis began her political career on the City Council. Anna M. Tinsley, star-telegram, "Five years ago, she stood in the Texas Capitol and talked for more than 11 hours. Now, what's next?," 20 June 2018 It's expected to pass in the House but unlikely to go far in the Senate, even though rescissions only need a simple majority and not subject to the normal 60-vote threshold to avoid a filibuster. Ashley Killough, CNN, "House to vote Thursday on package that would cut $1 billion in spending," 7 June 2018 During the debate over health care in 2013, Cruz read the book as part of a filibuster and the nation learned that Texas's junior senator knew how to use various devices to hold an audience. Jeremy Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "A different side of Ted Cruz: Texas' junior senator and his affinity for pop culture," 22 Feb. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

When Bush go, in, the Democrats began to filibuster his picks beginning with Miguel Estrada, fearful that his being seated on the D.C. Circuit would set up a future (INAUDIBLE) the Supreme Court -- WALLACE: OK. Fox News, "Amb. Jon Huntsman previews the Trump-Putin summit," 16 July 2018 Senate Democrats threatened to filibuster Kavanaugh's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court, accusing him of being a political operative and rubber stamp for Bush. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Winners and losers from Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination," 10 July 2018 Republicans retaliated by filibustering his judicial nominees 3. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Mitch McConnell Committed a Judicial Heist and Blames Obama for His Crime," 31 May 2018 McConnell eliminated the exception for filibustering the Supreme Court First, Step 1 never happened. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Mitch McConnell Committed a Judicial Heist and Blames Obama for His Crime," 31 May 2018 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

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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Statistics for filibuster

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on filibuster

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with filibuster

Spanish Central: Translation of filibuster

Nglish: Translation of filibuster for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about filibuster

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