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
2 : unconstrained by interference : self-determining
3 : done by design or intention : intentional voluntary manslaughter
4 : of, relating to, subject to, or regulated by the will voluntary behavior
5 : having power of free choice
6 : provided or supported by voluntary action
7 : acting or done of one's own free will without valuable consideration or legal obligation

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

Adjective

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.

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

But the program is voluntary and there is no external check to make sure companies are complying. Julissa Treviño, WIRED, "Little Plastic 'Nurdles' Are Flooding Beaches and Waterways," 10 July 2019 However, data are available only since 2016 and participation by states is voluntary and only reported cases are included. Linda R. Phillips, The Conversation, "Elder abuse increasing, without increased awareness," 14 June 2019 Membership is voluntary and yes, numbers have swelled to 53 nations, but today’s Commonwealth has the gentle hum of a networking body sharing insights, rather than the chest-beating and oppressive roar of the colonial empire. Juliet Rieden, Town & Country, "At 98, Prince Philip Is the Last of the Old-School Royals," 10 June 2019 The poultry giant stated the recall is voluntary and out of caution. Casey Smith, Indianapolis Star, "Tyson Foods recalls over 190,000 pounds of chicken fritters sold to restaurants, schools," 8 June 2019 The Texans will hold informal voluntary throwing sessions organized by players with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Deshaun Watson, receivers to hold informal throwing sessions," 2 July 2019 As with any major challenge, the solutions will require a combination of measures, from regulations to voluntary changes in the ways society uses and disposes of plastics. Javier Garcia Martinez, Scientific American, "Bioplastics Could Solve a Major Pollution Problem," 1 July 2019 Searches are voluntary, however, failure to allow a search will result in denial of entry. Austen Erblat, sun-sentinel.com, "Food trucks, music and fireworks will light up Fourth of July event," 13 June 2019 Nevada’s system will be voluntary, but the state will try to recruit businesses within the marijuana industry to participate, as well as other businesses that deal with the industry, such as landlords, payroll firms, and garden supply companies. Michelle L. Price, BostonGlobe.com, "Nevada to try limited banking for cash-heavy pot industry," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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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Statistics for voluntary

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for voluntary

The first known use of voluntary was in the 14th century

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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

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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appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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