from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action.
  • n. An instance of the use of this delaying tactic.
  • n. An adventurer who engages in a private military action in a foreign country.
  • intransitive v. To use obstructionist tactics in a legislative body.
  • intransitive v. To take part in a private military action in a foreign country.
  • transitive v. To use a filibuster against (a legislative measure, for example).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A freebooter, or mercenary soldier.
  • n. A delaying tactic, especially the use of long, often irrelevant speeches given in order to delay progress or the making of a decision, especially on the floor of the US Senate.
  • n. A member of a legislative body causing such obstruction.
  • v. To take part in a private military action in a foreign country.
  • v. To use obstructionist tactics in a legislative body.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A lawless military adventurer, especially one in quest of plunder; a freebooter; -- originally applied to buccaneers infesting the Spanish American coasts, but introduced into common English to designate the followers of Lopez in his expedition to Cuba in 1851, and those of Walker in his expedition to Nicaragua, in 1855.
  • intransitive v. To act as a filibuster, or military freebooter.
  • intransitive v. To delay legislation, by dilatory motions or other artifices.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act as a freebooter or bucaneer.
  • To obstruct legislation by undue use of the technicalities of parliamentary law or privileges, as when the minority in a legislative assembly, in order to prevent the passage of some measure obnoxious to them, endeavor to consume time or tire out their opponents by useless motions, speeches, objections, etc.
  • n. A freebooter: in history, a name distinctively applied to the West Indian bucaneers or pirates of the seventeenth century. See bucaneer.
  • n. Hence One of a band of men organized, in disregard of international law, for the purpose of invading and revolutionizing a foreign state.
  • n. In a legislative or other deliberative body, a member in the minority who resorts to irregular or obstructive tactics to prevent the adoption of a measure or procedure which is favored by the majority. Also filibusterer.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (law) a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches
  • v. obstruct deliberately by delaying
  • n. a legislator who gives long speeches in an effort to delay or obstruct legislation that he (or she) opposes


From Spanish filibustero, freebooter, from French flibustier, from Dutch vrijbuiter, pirate; see freebooter.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Spanish filibustero ("pirate"), from French flibustier, from Dutch vrijbuiter ("freebooter"), from vrij ("free") + buit ("booty") + -er ("agent"). Same construction and cognate to English freebooter. (Wiktionary)



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  • So a filibusterer is akin to a freebooter (pirate). It makes sense, actually.

    May 15, 2015

  • "While the Democrats and Barack Obama have won the presidential election and come close to a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they will be handicapped by the financial condition of the nation they will inherit. Think of a trustee or conservator of a bankrupt company. Obama will find his options substantially constrained by reality, if not by the partisan animosity of the Republicans."
    - Dick Morris and Eileen McGann, 'President Obama: A Trustee In Bankruptcy',, 5 Nov 2008.

    November 6, 2008

  • Indeed!

    March 15, 2008

  • fantastic quote. fantastic.

    March 14, 2008

  • They say women talk too much. If you have worked in Congress you know that the filibuster was invented by men.
    (Clare Boothe Luce)

    March 14, 2008