volunteer

noun
vol·​un·​teer | \ ˌvä-lən-ˈtir How to pronounce volunteer (audio) \

Definition of volunteer

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: such as
a : one who enters into military service voluntarily
b(1) : one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest
(2) : one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration
2 : a volunteer plant
3 capitalized [ Volunteers of America ] : a member of a quasi-military religious and philanthropic organization founded in 1896 by Commander and Mrs. Ballington Booth

volunteer

verb
volunteered; volunteering; volunteers

Definition of volunteer (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to offer oneself as a volunteer volunteered to host the meeting

transitive verb

: to offer or bestow voluntarily volunteer one's services

volunteer

adjective

Definition of volunteer (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : being, consisting of, or engaged in by volunteers a volunteer army busy with volunteer activities
2 : growing spontaneously without direct human control or supervision especially from seeds lost from a previous crop volunteer corn plants

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Examples of volunteer in a Sentence

Noun

Volunteers are needed to help with the bake sale. The school was built by volunteers.

Verb

Our son volunteered for military service. He would not volunteer any information about her whereabouts.

Adjective

volunteer work at the hospital
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Felicity’s leader, Temel Karamollaoglu, alleged a polling station volunteer and a party observer were shot by a relative of a ruling party candidate. Zeynep Bilginsoy, The Seattle Times, "Turkey’s ruling party leads local elections but loses Ankara," 31 Mar. 2019 The couple is passionate about animal rights, and often volunteers at or fosters pups through Proverbs: 12:10 Animal Rescue. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Dan + Shay's Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers Have the Most Romantic Love Stories," 29 Mar. 2019 MobilizeAmerica is becoming the go-to platform for Democrats mobilizing grassroots activists and volunteers. Julie Bykowicz, WSJ, "Democrats Turn to Online Tool for Organizing Volunteers," 4 Mar. 2019 Per her Bachelor bio, Adams was a Girl Scout for 12 years and currently volunteers at her church. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Why 'Bachelor' Contestant Tayshia Adams Is One to Watch This Season," 17 Jan. 2019 This is where Lincoln, Seweingyawma and other volunteers built an oasis for the horses. Alex Devoid, azcentral, "Volunteers care for Navajo wild horses during drought, despite overpopulation concerns," 13 July 2018 Today, Donahue and a team of around 100 volunteers start decorating in mid-October. Robert Khederian, Town & Country, "How Newport's Gilded Age Mansions Are Decorated for Christmas," 13 Dec. 2018 By the same token, O’Rourke is now known statewide in Texas and has a network of volunteers and donors who could be activated for another run. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Democrats need some 2020 Senate candidates," 6 Dec. 2018 Here’s the Post: Johnson brought volunteers into the RV to take pictures with Trump. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Another Woman Has Accused Donald Trump of Sexual Misconduct," 25 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This included a photojournalism internship, a project on the Akha hill tribe, and volunteering in Tibet. Teen Vogue, "What To Do After High School: 9 Things To Do Besides College," 4 Apr. 2019 Although her grandchildren are now in high school and middle school, Palmer continues to volunteer weekly in the library. Elaine Adams, kansascity, "Father and daughter savor surprise moment together | The Kansas City Star," 1 May 2018 Today, Christians may choose to give up luxuries like dessert or alcohol, or perform an act of kindness like volunteering, until the Lenten season is over. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Lent? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 11 Jan. 2019 Members of the police department who live in Jersey City have volunteered to have the cameras and boxes placed at their homes. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Police use cameras and fake Amazon boxes with GPS to catch thieves," 12 Dec. 2018 Check it out and find a place to show up and volunteer in your state. Allure, "6 Ways to Support Transgender and Nonbinary People Right Now," 21 Oct. 2018 Much of its work focuses on working with corporations like Starbucks to encourage their employees to volunteer in local communities. David Sharp, The Seattle Times, "3 decades on, George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light still shine," 3 Sep. 2018 After volunteering in the community for 22 years, Lincolnshire resident Mike Denning recently was named the village’s 2018 Citizen of the Year. Todd Shields, chicagotribune.com, "Shout Out: Mike Denning, who was named the 2018 Lincolshire Citizen of the Year," 13 July 2018 The SW Teen Center Council is a group of South Windsor high school students that works together to volunteer in the community. Quoron Walker, Courant Community, "Teen Center Youth Council Looking To Get Active," 19 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Volunteer firefighters and EMTs took Marvin to a rendezvous point with the air ambulance. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "The strange day a longtime Idaho bear hunter became the prey," 14 June 2017 Volunteer jobs range from helping out in the gift shop and art gallery to giving tours and running special events or keeping an inventory of historical items that are donated. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Ice cream social planned at old adobe," 31 May 2017 Volunteer background can include: attorneys, law students, and paralegals. Nathan Paige, cleveland.com, "BVU: Change the World Day volunteer opportunities, and more," 15 May 2017

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

Noun

circa 1600, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1709, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Adjective

1649, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for volunteer

Noun

obsolete French voluntaire (now volontaire), from voluntaire, adjective, voluntary, from Old French, from Latin voluntarius

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More Definitions for volunteer

volunteer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of volunteer

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a person who chooses to join the military
: a person who does work without getting paid to do it

volunteer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of volunteer (Entry 2 of 3)

: to offer to do something without being forced to or without getting paid to do it
: to choose to join the military
: to give (something) without being forced to or without getting paid for it

volunteer

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of volunteer (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, relating to, or done by volunteers

volunteer

noun
vol·​un·​teer | \ ˌvä-lən-ˈtir How to pronounce volunteer (audio) \

Kids Definition of volunteer

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a person who does something by free choice usually with no payment expected or given Volunteers painted the town hall.

volunteer

adjective

Kids Definition of volunteer (Entry 2 of 3)

: relating to or done by volunteers a volunteer fire department

volunteer

verb
volunteered; volunteering

Kids Definition of volunteer (Entry 3 of 3)

: to offer or give without being asked or forced and usually with no expectation of payment I volunteered my services. Tucker Mouse had volunteered to let them use the drain pipe …— George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square

volunteer

noun
vol·​un·​teer | \ ˌvä-lən-ˈtir How to pronounce volunteer (audio) \

Legal Definition of volunteer

1 : one that voluntarily undertakes something especially : one who without request, obligation, or an interest pays the debt of another and is denied reimbursement from subrogation
2 : one who receives property without giving valuable consideration

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Comments on volunteer

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