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

Before each run, volunteers have to walk the entire length of the course and remove any loose rocks or stones to prevent them being sucked into an engine or otherwise damaging Bloodhound SSC. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 To see the balloons in person, enter the viewing line at West 73rd Street and Columbus Avenue (volunteers will be present to help direct you), then exit at West 81st Street and Central Park West. Caitlin Morton, Condé Nast Traveler, "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: 2018 Information and Event History," 21 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, across town at Bidwell Junior High School, Red Cross volunteers are moving cots into a gymnasium to give the 65 evacuees there more space. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The Paradise fire is catastrophic. And the wildfire threat to California is only growing.," 17 Nov. 2018 To keep Ruby focused on healing, Joy volunteers to take Ruby’s place much to the amusement of Ben who knows Joy has no idea of the Herculean task before her. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch in Between Your Halloween Shenanigans," 28 Oct. 2018 Tesla put out a call for volunteers to help get owners into their new cars at retail stores. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Tesla promises all cars ordered by October 15th will qualify for $7,500 tax break," 12 Oct. 2018 At least 22 volunteers so far have reached out to express frustration with the decision, according to the spreadsheet. Fox News, "Video from 2011 creates headaches for Sinema," 12 Oct. 2018 As the program grew, volunteers often worked on issues of sustainability, emergency food assistance, and urban gardening. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "How urban farms in New York schools are raising food to fight inequality," 27 Sep. 2018 Its work is mostly remote, and volunteers use a Slack channel to coordinate as well as regular calls with campaign officials. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because some don’t have ovens, some are here volunteering. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "Tragedy survivors reflect on Thanksgiving after year of loss," 21 Nov. 2018 My staff made repeated requests to interview Dr. Ford during the past 11 days, even volunteering to fly to California to take her testimony. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "During Christine Blasey Ford’s Testimony, Contempt for Women Was on Full Display," 27 Sep. 2018 Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai navy SEAL volunteering to work on the rescue died Friday while replenishing oxygen canisters placed along the escape route. Anchorage Daily News, "With V-for-Victory sign, rescued Thai boys celebrate freedom," 12 July 2018 Highlighting the dangers, a former Thai navy SEAL volunteering to work on the rescue efforts died Friday while replenishing oxygen canisters that were placed along the escape route. Kaweewit Kaewjinda, BostonGlobe.com, "Kids rescued in Thailand lost weight, drank dripping water in cave," 11 July 2018 More than 400 people volunteer their time, and sponsors donate things like shirts, beverages, and security along the race route. Cheryl Wischhover, Vox, "Thanksgiving is now the most popular race day in America.," 20 Nov. 2018 To be clear, the article by the Post’s Cat Zakrzewski is about tech folks volunteering their time to provide leftist organizations with perfectly legitimate assistance, such as cybersecurity training to thwart malicious hackers. James Freeman, WSJ, "The ‘Mistake’ Facebook Keeps Making," 2 Nov. 2018 An outpouring on social media emerged in tribute to the 38-year-old Kunan, who had volunteered to help with the rescue efforts. Thomas Maresca, USA TODAY, "Thai navy SEAL commander: 'Limited amount of time' left to rescue trapped soccer team," 6 July 2018 David Meditz's daughter, who volunteered alongside Rohrer as Supergirl, escorted Rohrer’s daughter, Emma, at the funeral. Robert A. Cronkleton, Glenn E. Rice, Ian Cummings, Katie Bernard And Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Scenes from Wyandotte County's tribute to slain KCK deputies," 21 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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Statistics for volunteer

Last Updated

9 Dec 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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