A filibuster is a political procedure where one or more members of parliament or congress debate over a proposed piece of legislation so as to delay or entirely prevent a decision being made on the proposal. It is sometimes referred to as "talking a bill to death" or "talking out a bill"[1] and is characterized as a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. This form of political obstruction reaches as far back as Ancient Roman times and could also be referred to synonymously with political stonewalling. Due to the often extreme length of time required for a successful filibuster, many speakers stray off topic after exhausting the original subject matter. Past speakers have read through laws from different states, recited speeches, and even read from cookbooks and phone books.[2]


The word filibuster comes from the Spanish "fee-lee-bote," English "fly-boat," a small, swift sailing-vessel with a large mainsail, which enabled buccaneers to pursue merchantmen in the open sea and escape when pursued.[3] The Oxford English Dictionary finds its only known use in early modern English in a 1587 book describing "flibutors" who robbed supply convoys.[4]

The English filibuster was borrowed from Spanish in the 19th century. Originally it applied to pirates infesting the Spanish American coasts, but around 1850 it designated the followers of William Walker and Narciso López, who were then pillaging Spanish colonies in Central America.[5] The word entered American political slang with the meaning "to delay legislation by dilatory motions or other artifices."[5]

Other Languages
čeština: Filibustering
dansk: Filibuster
Deutsch: Filibuster
eesti: Filibuster
español: Filibusterismo
Esperanto: Obstrukco
한국어: 필리버스터
Bahasa Indonesia: Filibuster
íslenska: Málþóf
italiano: Ostruzionismo
עברית: פיליבסטר
Nederlands: Filibusteren
日本語: 議事妨害
norsk: Filibuster
norsk nynorsk: Filibuster
português: Obstrucionismo
română: Obstrucționism
русский: Филибастер
Simple English: Filibuster
српски / srpski: Филибастер
svenska: Filibuster
粵語: 拉布
Zazaki: Filibuster
中文: 冗長辯論