involuntary

adjective
in·vol·un·tary | \ (ˌ)in-ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē , -ˌte-rē \

Definition of involuntary 

1 : done contrary to or without choice

3 : not subject to control of the will : reflex

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Other words from involuntary

involuntarily \(ˌ)in-ˌvä-lən-ˈter-ə-lē, -ˈte-rə- \ adverb
involuntariness \(ˌ)in-ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē-nəs, -ˌte-rē- \ noun

Examples of involuntary in a Sentence

Breathing and circulation are involuntary processes. When the door burst open, she let out an involuntary shriek. The lawyer argued that the client's confession was involuntary.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Even when earlier on three or more subgroups are doing entirely different, often intense things, the mood is controlled, involuntary, dragooned. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "With Batsheva, Politics Inside and Outside the Joyce Theater," 11 July 2018 The decline in manufacturing layoffs coincides with broader involuntary discharges trending at near-record lows. Eric Morath, WSJ, "Factory Workers’ New Perk: Job Security," 10 July 2018 Typically this school year an average of 118 children a day underwent involuntary mental exams in Florida. Megan O'matz, Sun-Sentinel.com, "After Parkland, numbers of children hospitalized for mental health care jumped," 28 Apr. 2018 Between July 2015 and July 2016 alone, more than 32,000 involuntary psychiatric exams were conducted on Florida children, according to data from the Baker Act Reporting Center at the University of South Florida. Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "After a 7-year-old was taken from school in handcuffs, Miami-Dade reveals new policy," 10 Feb. 2018 However, under the new instruction, they too will be required to complete four additional years, with a few exceptions for involuntary separations. Andrew Dyer, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Pentagon announces changes to Post-9/11 GI Bill," 12 July 2018 From there, the hot dog travels to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), an involuntary bundle of muscles at the low end of the esophagus that prevents acid from getting into the stomach. Amy Kraft, CBS News, "How competitive eaters do it – and what it does to them," 4 July 2018 The Comprehensive Plan identified four unincorporated areas surrounded by the city's corporate borders that would be eligible for involuntary annexation. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Yorkville looking to annex 152 acres of unincorporated land," 4 July 2018 Davidson police obtained additional warrants and Luong and Tsi were charged with human trafficking, involuntary servitude and conspiracy, officials said. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "Duo accused of human trafficking at NC salon stabbed woman with tools, warrants say," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'involuntary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of involuntary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for involuntary

Middle English involuntari, from Late Latin involuntarius, from Latin in- + voluntarius voluntary

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for involuntary

The first known use of involuntary was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for involuntary

involuntary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of involuntary

: not done or made consciously

: not done by choice

involuntary

adjective
in·vol·un·tary | \ in-ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē \

Kids Definition of involuntary

1 : not done consciously an involuntary whimper

2 : not done by choice involuntary labor

Other words from involuntary

involuntarily \ˌin-ˌvä-lən-ˈter-ə-lē \ adverb

involuntary

adjective
in·vol·un·tary | \ (ˈ)in-ˈväl-ən-ˌter-ē \

Medical Definition of involuntary 

: not subject to control of the will : reflex involuntary contractions

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involuntary

adjective
in·vol·un·tary | \ in-ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē \

Legal Definition of involuntary 

: done, made, or initiated contrary to or without one's choice an involuntary confession an involuntary lien an involuntary plaintiff joined in the action

Other words from involuntary

involuntarily adverb

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Comments on involuntary

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