voluntary

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

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

Earnings guidance is voluntary and isn’t required by the government. Gabriel T. Rubin, WSJ, "SEC to Take Up Trump’s Request on Quarterly Earnings Reports," 29 Nov. 2018 Inclusion on the list is voluntary and the ability to try such cases is subject to the approval of judges and qualifications under court rules. Jerzy Shedlock, The Seattle Times, "‘This is not OK’: Clark County Indigent Defense Office needs more attorneys for serious, time-consuming cases," 27 Nov. 2018 Since all efforts are voluntary, there is no regulating body to penalize or fine the government for not sticking to its word. Susmita Baral, Teen Vogue, "Trump and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, Explained," 2 Aug. 2018 The use of E-Verify is voluntary for employers in most states now. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "Latest House immigration bill: here's what you need to know about what will be voted on Wednesday," 26 June 2018 Sproles and Bennett missed organized team activities, which were voluntary. Zach Berman, Philly.com, "Doug Pederson says it's too soon to know if Nick Foles or Carson Wentz will start Eagles season opener," 12 June 2018 Three of those four weeks are called organized team activities, which are voluntary. Adam H. Beasley, miamiherald, "QB Ryan Tannehill's health tops list of stories to follow at Miami Dolphins OTAs | Miami Herald," 22 May 2018 Flight bumps can be either voluntary or involuntary. Aditi Shrikant, Vox, "Why airlines are allowed to overbook their flights," 14 Nov. 2018 In April, a jury found Swartz not guilty of second-degree murder, however it was deadlocked on the lesser charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. Araceli Cruz, Teen Vogue, "A Court Ruled the Family of a Mexican Teen Killed by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent Can Sue," 8 Aug. 2018

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

6 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \

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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