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 But those contributions will be voluntary, the Scouts’ filing said, and there was no breakdown of how much each council would pay. Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times, "Boy Scouts propose more than $300 million, Norman Rockwell paintings to settle sex abuse claims," 1 Mar. 2021 By Sunday morning, officials called off the voluntary evacuation. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Rainfall in Ketchikan leads to flooding, but no dam break," 7 Dec. 2020 Hina Kalhoro told the Orange County Register her family had packed up and were ready to leave when the sheriff's advisory on Monday initially warned of a voluntary evacuation. Fox News, "California wildfires explode in size, 2 injured firefighters 'fighting for their lives'," 28 Oct. 2020 New Orleans officials also called for a voluntary evacuation Monday of some vulnerable districts as sandbags were being assembled. NBC News, "Zeta upgraded to hurricane as weary Gulf Coast residents await landfall," 27 Oct. 2020 An island-wide voluntary evacuation goes into effect Tuesday morning. Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com, "Hurricane Zeta to become 5th named storm to hit Louisiana in unprecedented season," 26 Oct. 2020 Authorities in Colorado have ordered the mandatory evacuation of the resort community of Grand Lake and the voluntary evacuation for the Estes Park area. Vincent Del Giudice, Bloomberg.com, "Growing Colorado Wildfires Shut Rocky Mountain National Park," 22 Oct. 2020 Lafayette Parish had been under voluntary evacuation since midweek, and as Delta churned ever closer, residents were divided on whether to stay or go. Richard Fausset, New York Times, "Tropical Storm Delta Strikes a Louisiana Region That Was Already Reeling," 9 Oct. 2020 In areas outside the city’s protective levee system, warnings of the potential for a six-foot storm surge prompted Cantrell to order a voluntary evacuation. Washington Post, "Louisiana coastline prepares to be battered, again, with arrival of Hurricane Delta," 8 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

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Voluntary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/voluntary. Accessed 8 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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