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a) to block voting on a law by making long speeches

German translation:

filibuster = Verschleppungstaktik, die Taktik einer Minderheit, durch Dauerreden eine Beschlussfassung durch die Mehrheit zu verhindern oder zu verzögern

filibuster: approximately 4,300,000 Google hits



Sample text:

Forty-six Republican senators joined with two Democrats to FILIBUSTER the $447bn (£287bn) package.

(BBC News)

The filibuster procedure in the US Senate has been used over many years to prevent decisions on many sensible matters.

(Financial Times)

Did you know?


- the use of obstructionist tactics, especially prolonged speechmaking, for the purpose of delaying legislative action

(American Heritage Dictionary)


- to make a long speech in order to delay or prevent a new law being made

(Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)

The idea of a filibuster is most closely associated with the United States Senate, which has turned the practice into an art form. Filibusters have also been used in other legislatures around the world, such as Canada and the United Kingdom, in varying procedures but with the same goal: stalling a vote.

A filibuster is a tactic used to prevent the passage of a motion, such as a bill. Within the US Senate, a filibuster usually takes the form of an extended speech, as the Senate offers the right of unlimited discussion and debate. Senators are also not restricted to the topic at hand, and famous filibusters have included readings from phone books, recitations of poetry, and discussions of Southern recipes.

The roots of the word are almost as fascinating as the practice itself. "Filibuster" is related to the Dutch "vrijbuiter," which means pirate. The Dutch word may actually come from "free booter," an English term for a pirate. In the 1800s, Americans filibustered extensively in the Caribbean and South America, attempting to seize political power and material goods. The term was adopted to talk about legislators who "pirated" the spirit of debate in Congress.

Note: The longest individual filibuster on record in the US Senate was carried out by Strom Thurmond who talked for 24 hours and 18 minutes in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

(adapted from and Wikipedia)

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