volunteer

noun
vol·un·teer | \ ˌvä-lən-ˈtir \

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

Patients squirmed on desks and on the floor as volunteers inserted IVs and bandaged wounds. Joshua Partlow, chicagotribune.com, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 At Highland Drive, volunteers were careful not to splatter paint on the floor. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "A Wallingford Mission Trip Brings Together 360 Youth Volunteers To Repair Homes, Communities," 13 July 2018 Spearheaded by Jefferson Township trustee Lonnie Todd, volunteers pitched in to get the gym game-ready. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "An Indiana gym gem: Restoration of Pleasantville gym a pleasant surprise," 12 July 2018 The celebration opens at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a breakfast for volunteers who will perform service projects at the church site and in the community until noon. Joy Davis, Aurora Beacon-News, "Aurora church to celebrate anniversary," 12 July 2018 Norcross is seeking volunteers to serve on the Tree Board. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Norcross Tree Board seeking volunteers," 12 July 2018 The Whiskey Rebels entertained guests while volunteers worked the grills. Dennis Hohenberger, Courant Community, "Car Show Benefits The Elderly," 11 July 2018 Under Sonia's direction, about 100 volunteers help till the soil, plant seeds, water and fertilize, and harvest produce from tomatoes and eggplant to peas, beans, and radishes. Tracy Saelinger, Woman's Day, "Gardening Led This Veteran to a New Life of Hope and Healing," 11 July 2018 The conditions were difficult enough that former Thai Navy SEAL diver and rescue volunteer Saman Gunan ran out of air and died while dropping resupply tanks along the route on July 6. J. Weston Phippen, Outside Online, "The Daring Rescue that Saved the Thai Soccer Team," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In MEL Magazine, merritt k has an interview with Jeff, a 30-year-old man from Indiana who’s volunteered as a Planned Parenthood clinic escort for almost a decade. Michelle Weber, Longreads, "Standing in the Buffer Zone," 19 June 2018 Students Avigail Broide, who volunteered at a foster home in Israel and Emma Frank, who worked on many school publications, will both be making aliyah (becoming citizens and residents of Israel) and will join the Israel Defense Forces . Marvin Glassman, Jewish Journal, "Katz Yeshiva graduates its largest senior class," 14 June 2018 Terms will be negotiated with each borrower and a committee of seven lending professionals who are volunteering to help. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "New Anchorage entrepreneurs get help turning ideas – and neighborhood pride – into a business plan," 4 June 2018 Visitors will be helped by a team of 140 Royal Borough ambassadors who have volunteered to help steward the event and assist visitors throughout the day. Katie Nicholl, Vanities, "Royal Wedding: All the Date, Time, and Streaming Info a Royal-Obsessive Needs," 11 May 2018 When Clinton launched her bid for the New York Senate, Gillibrand volunteered, gave money, and began insinuating herself into state Democratic politics. Jason Zengerle, GQ, "Kirsten Gillibrand, the Senator From the State of #MeToo," 17 Apr. 2018 Four Thai Navy SEALs were still in the deepest chambers, making their way out after volunteering to keep vigil with the boys. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "‘Time is running out’: Inside the treacherous rescue of boys trapped in a Thai cave," 13 July 2018 Volunteers included members of the Woman’s Club of Vista and Girl Scout Troop 4371 with Pride of Vista Pageant ladies Jess Heatherly and Allyce Calloway and Blue Star volunteers Laura and Briana Torres. Linda Mcintosh, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Blue Star families honored," 13 July 2018 Armstead says Robbin Brannon, a worship minister at a church in the Dallas metro area, volunteered to start it off, then others joined in. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Flash mob of over 60 a cappella singers fills Chick-fil-A with gospel music," 12 July 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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Statistics for volunteer

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for volunteer

The first known use of volunteer was circa 1600

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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

adjective

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

: of, relating to, or done by volunteers

volunteer

verb

English Language Learners Definition of volunteer (Entry 3 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

noun
vol·un·teer | \ ˌvä-lən-ˈtir \

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 \

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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