As a verb, filibuster means "to obstruct legislation by talking at great length." As a noun, it can refer to that oppositional speech. "The Senator prevented a vote on the bill by reading the dictionary from aardvark to zyzzyva."

As a parliamentary tactic, the filibuster dates back to at least the first century B.C.E. The rules of the Roman Senate required that all business must be completed by nightfall, and, on more than one occasion, the senator Cato the Younger spoke until dark to delay a vote. In the Parliament of the United Kingdom, a minister may "talk out" a bill, but his speech must pertain to the bill. In the United States, by contrast, a Senator may forestall action on a bill by speaking on any topic.

Definitions of filibuster

n (law) a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches

Type of:
delay, holdup
the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time

n a legislator who gives long speeches in an effort to delay or obstruct legislation that he (or she) opposes

Type of:
a person who delays; to put off until later or cause to be late
someone who makes or enacts laws

v obstruct deliberately by delaying

Type of:
block, blockade, embarrass, hinder, obstruct, stymie, stymy
hinder or prevent the progress or accomplishment of

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