The word filibuster has a colorful etymology. It goes back to a Dutch word, vrijbuiter, which means “plunderer” or “robber,” the source also of the English word freebooter, or “pirate,” and a linguistic relative of English booty, or “spoils.” In Spanish, the Dutch term morphed into filibustero, and this term was later Anglicized as filibuster. Eventually, filibuster came to apply to the practice of congressional representatives “hijacking legislation” with lengthy speeches.

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