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 [ 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 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

In March 2013, the Manchin-Toomey amendment to close this loophole in background checks received 54 votes in the Senate, shy of the 60 votes needed to avert a filibuster. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, "How McConnell has fought gun control despite a mass shooting in his hometown 30 years ago," 12 Sep. 2019 The bill failed because Republicans could not muster the two-thirds vote needed to end a filibuster and bring the bill to a vote. Washington Post, "SC to consider abortion ban; bill faces uncertain future," 10 Sep. 2019 Johnson supporters in the House of Lords have staged a filibuster to block the Brexit delay bill. Kevin Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News, "British House of Commons passes bill seeking to avert no-deal Brexit, another blow to Boris Johnson," 4 Sep. 2019 Opponents may mount a filibuster to try to prevent final passage. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, "Defying Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.K. lawmakers pass bill to block no-deal Brexit," 4 Sep. 2019 In 1957, the Senate gave final congressional approval to a Civil Rights Act after South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond (then a Democrat) ended a filibuster that had lasted 24 hours. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 29 Aug. 2019 The bad news is the debate will last three hours, which is more a filibuster than a debate. Rex Huppke, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Trump, methane release and still too many Democrats: The Week in Review," 28 Aug. 2019 Also abolishing the electoral college, free college tuition, ending the filibuster in the Senate, outlawing fracking, canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, legalizing marijuana — and more. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Democrats wary of litmus tests inch back from the cliff on their left," 15 Sep. 2019 After Senate Republicans eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017, the Senate can now confirm a judge to the Supreme Court with a simple majority. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has No Plans to Retire. But Washington Is Preparing for the Battle Over Her Seat," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Even if Republicans had made a wall (or other immigration policies) one of their main items of business in 2017 and 2018, alongside tax reform and Obamacare replacement, Senate Democrats had the power to filibuster and would have used it. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "What’s Next for the GOP on Immigration?," 12 Sep. 2019 Pete Buttigieg and Jay Inslee have done a solid job of bringing attention to filibuster abolition as a necessary prerequisite for any kind of meaningful Democratic legislating in the future. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The presidential debates wasted too much time talking about stuff only Congress can do," 1 Aug. 2019 With Johnson set to suspend Parliament for several weeks starting next week, pro-Brexit peers in the Lords are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering until time runs out. Danica Kirka, The Denver Post, "Brexit: U.K. Parliament delivers Boris Johnson third defeat in 2 days," 4 Sep. 2019 Conservatives are looking to filibuster in the upper chamber to block it, and more than 100 amendments have been tabled by Conservative peers. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "The UK parliament just voted to delay Brexit—for the third time," 4 Sep. 2019 That bill died after Senate Republicans threatened to filibuster and run out the clock. Russell Blair, courant.com, "Capitol Week in Review: Tolls vote still looming as General Assembly session ends," 7 June 2019 So as long as Mitch McConnell is willing to filibuster everything, no legislation, including climate legislation, can pass. David Roberts, Vox, "We might get a climate debate after all. Here are 10 questions to ask candidates.," 3 July 2019 Republicans filibustered a Democratic spending bill that year and used the disappearing quorum to frustrate the majority’s efforts. Kyle Sammin, National Review, "Oregon Democrats Outsource Their Duty to Drag Republicans Back to the Legislature," 28 June 2019 Of course, a Republican Senate might filibuster, adding another hurdle. Robinson Woodward-burns, Washington Post, "The Equal Rights Amendment is one state from ratification. Now what?," 20 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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More Definitions for filibuster

filibuster

noun

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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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

Comments on filibuster

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