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 Then small armies of volunteers would descend on the site in southeastern Kentucky and plant tulip trees, oaks, pines and chestnuts. Washington Post, "Kentucky was devastated for decades by mountaintop removal. Now scientists have figured out a way to undo the damage — one tree at a time.," 13 Feb. 2020 None of the volunteers were injured in the incident. Anthony Leonardi, Washington Examiner, "Suspect says 'someone had to take a stand' after minivan plows into GOP voter registration tent," 11 Feb. 2020 Now groups of volunteers in the city are working around the clock to help the animals. NBC News, "Coronavirus: Volunteers rush to help pets trapped in locked-down Wuhan," 10 Feb. 2020 That’s happening with the help of volunteers who work in shifts of two, making the rounds every half hour to assure safety. Michael K. Mcintyre, cleveland, "Denison UCC gets a winter reprieve to shelter homeless in Cleveland," 5 Feb. 2020 The host committee is responsible for raising $70 million and recruiting thousands of volunteers for the convention, which is scheduled for July 13-16. Tarini Parti, WSJ, "Democratic Convention Organizers Fired Following Allegations," 5 Feb. 2020 The Iowa Caucus was already under pressure, not only due to the inadequacy of party volunteers, but also because its structure requires an investment of time among voters that few can afford. Charles Stewart Iii, Wired, "The Saving Grace of the Iowa Caucus Meltdown," 4 Feb. 2020 There was an obvious alternative to developing a new piece of software: Just get a bunch of volunteers to sit in a big room in Des Moines and talk to precinct secretaries on the phone. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, "Phones Are the Best Technology," 4 Feb. 2020 Burkina Faso’s defense ministry is trying to recruit 2,000 more soldiers, and parliament has approved the use of civilian volunteers in the fight against extremism, a move that has concerned human rights groups. Arsene Kabore, BostonGlobe.com, "Market attack kills at least 30 in northern Burkina Faso," 28 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In he new role, Pollock, 27, will oversee the donor data base, events and volunteer efforts for the BGCNEO, which currently serves 7,667 youngsters at 39 locations in the region. cleveland, "Lyndhurst’s Pollock named development director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio," 2 Feb. 2020 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Let the volunteering begin. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2020 DNC in Milwaukee needs 15,000 volunteers. Here's where to sign up.," 30 Jan. 2020 Former Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, also a Democrat, sought a special prosecutor over the summer because Forestal donated money to Curry's campaign and volunteered his time. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana Rep. Dan Forestal faces a felony case. Now he’s appealing for Democratic support.," 30 Jan. 2020 The families have spent time volunteering together. Arizona Republic, "An Arizona couple donated $1 million to help foster children. One year later, they did even more.," 29 Jan. 2020 But lawyers aren’t known for volunteering information adverse to their clients or employers. Anne Diebel, The New York Review of Books, "The Good Guy," 28 Jan. 2020 He was diagnosed with the disease at 40 and has spent the last two decades volunteering to be poked, prodded and studied so researchers can better understand the syndrome. Amanda Morris, azcentral, "He's the oldest-known man with rare Proteus syndrome and he hopes to help find a cure," 28 Jan. 2020 Services for Kleingers are Wednesday morning at Frederick Funeral Home, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at St. James Church in White Oak where Kleingers often would volunteer. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Long-time La Salle fan Donald Kleingers dies after incident at Lancers basketball game," 22 Jan. 2020 Finley settled on a longer-term commitment with Elizabeth House after several à la carte volunteering jobs with various organizations. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "With Joy Street Initiative, Kelly Finley Is Using Her Design to Give Back," 17 Jan. 2020 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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Time Traveler for volunteer

Time Traveler

The first known use of volunteer was circa 1600

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Statistics for volunteer

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Volunteer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volunteer. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for volunteer

volunteer

noun
How to pronounce volunteer (audio)

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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