voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Definition of voluntary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : proceeding from the will or from one's own choice or consent a voluntary action voluntary cooperation
2 : unconstrained by interference : self-determining a voluntary participant
3 law
a : done by design or intention : intentional was convicted of voluntary manslaughter
b : acting or done of one's own free will without valuable consideration or legal obligation a voluntary conveyance
4 : of, relating to, subject to, or regulated by the will voluntary muscle movements voluntary behavior
5 : having power of free choice a voluntary agent
6 : provided or supported by voluntary action a voluntary institution/organization

voluntary

noun
plural voluntaries

Definition of voluntary (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a prefatory often extemporized musical piece
b : an improvisatory organ piece played before, during, or after a religious service
2 : one who participates voluntarily

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Other Words from voluntary

Adjective

voluntarily adverb
voluntariness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for voluntary

Adjective

voluntary, intentional, deliberate, willing mean done or brought about of one's own will. voluntary implies freedom and spontaneity of choice or action without external compulsion. a voluntary confession intentional stresses an awareness of an end to be achieved. the intentional concealment of vital information deliberate implies full consciousness of the nature of one's act and its consequences. deliberate acts of sabotage willing implies a readiness and eagerness to accede to or anticipate the wishes of another. willing obedience

Examples of voluntary in a Sentence

Adjective Participation in the program is completely voluntary. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter. the voluntary muscles that control urination
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective While Biden's platform included a buyback for gun owners who don’t want to register their military-style weapons, his envisioned program would be voluntary. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Biden campaign pledge to Beto O'Rourke on leading gun control push appears to be an empty one," 15 Feb. 2021 In response, the letter stated, many coaches and all of athletic executive staff took voluntary pay reductions, operating budgets were tightened and 10% of staff was laid off. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stanford faces backlash over bonuses to football, basketball staff amid sports cuts," 4 Feb. 2021 Reducing staff, both through voluntary and involuntary measures, has been common not only among media outlets but across wide swaths of the global economy. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "NBC Sports Chicago job cuts claim writers J.J. Stankevitz and Scott King," 22 Jan. 2021 The 5 % salary cut for the football staff alone accounted for nearly $570,000 of the approximately $1 million the athletic department expects to save from the 46 voluntary reductions. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "How much did Ohio State football coaches earn in 2020 bonuses, and how much did they give back?," 15 Jan. 2021 The reductions include voluntary and involuntary separations, and the severance packages are expected to cost the company between $350 million and $550 million. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "Coca-Cola is cutting 2,200 jobs," 17 Dec. 2020 Participation in the dashboard has been voluntary and nearly 400 schools are still not reporting cases among students, teachers or staff members. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "'Unsustainable and unsafe': ISTA calls for schools in red counties to move online," 20 Nov. 2020 With voluntary and involuntary lockdowns rising, Americans are planning ahead. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Toilet Paper Déjà Vu All Over Again," 18 Nov. 2020 Swartz faced second-degree murder, voluntary and involuntary slaughter charges, the first border agent criminally prosecuted in court. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, "After Supreme Court rules against them, families in cross-border shootings turn to international watchdog," 10 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Danario Green was optimistic about returning to work as a JetBlue flight attendant after taking a five-month voluntary leave earlier in the pandemic. Natalie B. Compton, Anchorage Daily News, "What flight attendants want you to know about traveling during the holidays," 23 Nov. 2020 The actual number of layoffs and furloughs may decrease for both American and United before Oct. 1 because of union agreements and other voluntary buyout negotiations, according to company memos. Anna Kramer, SFChronicle.com, "American Airlines plans to lay off about 700 Bay Area workers," 4 Aug. 2020 For players, that means a certain level of accomplishment or desire for a new contract can be reason to skip the voluntaries. Sam Mellinger, kansascity.com, "Mellinger Minutes: Royals surging, Royals trading (?), Kyle Zimmer and Pat Mahomes," 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'voluntary.' 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 voluntary

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for voluntary

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French voluntarie, from Latin voluntarius, from voluntas will, from velle to will, wish — more at will

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Time Traveler for voluntary

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for voluntary

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Voluntary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/voluntary. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for voluntary

voluntary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of voluntary

: done or given because you want to and not because you are forced to : done or given by choice
: provided or supported by people who do work without being paid
: doing work without being paid

voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Kids Definition of voluntary

1 : done, given, or acting of free choice a voluntary confession a voluntary participant
2 : done or acting with no expectation of payment a voluntary job
3 : relating to or controlled by the will voluntary muscle movements

Other Words from voluntary

voluntarily \ ˌvä-​lən-​ˈter-​ə-​lē \ adverb participate voluntarily

Choose the Right Synonym for voluntary

voluntary, intentional, and deliberate mean done or brought about by choice. voluntary is used of an act that results from freedom of will. Joining the club is voluntary. It can also be used of an act that is controlled by the will. Blinking the eyes can be a voluntary movement. intentional is used of something that is done for a reason and only after some thought. Her neglect of the task was intentional. deliberate is used of an act that is done purposefully and with full understanding of the likely results. It was a deliberate insult.

voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈväl-ən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Medical Definition of voluntary

1 : proceeding from the will or from one's own choice or consent
2 : of, relating to, subject to, or regulated by the will voluntary behavior

Other Words from voluntary

voluntarily adverb

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voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Legal Definition of voluntary

1a : proceeding from one's own free choice or consent rather than as the result of duress, coercion, or deception a voluntary statement
b : not compelled by law : done as a matter of choice or agreement voluntary arbitration
c : made freely and with an understanding of the consequences a voluntary plea of guilty
2 : done by design or intention
3 : made without valuable consideration or for nominal consideration a voluntary conveyance

Other Words from voluntary

voluntarily \ ˌvä-​lən-​ˈter-​ə-​lē \ adverb
voluntariness noun

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Comments on voluntary

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