Free US Law DictionaryBETA
A filibuster, or "talking out a bill", is a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. An attempt is made to infinitely extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay the progress or completely prevent a vote on the proposal taking place.
The term 'filibuster' was first used in 1851. It was derived from the Spanish filibustero meaning 'pirate' or 'freebooter'. This term had in turn evolved from the French word flibustier, which itself evolved from the Dutch vrijbuiter (freebooter). This term was applied at the time to American adventurers, mostly from Southern states, who sought to overthrow the governments of Central American states, and was transferred to the users of the filibuster, seen as a tactic for pirating or hijacking debate.