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

Katherine Bissell Cordova, executive director of Chicago Fair Trade and a volunteer for the petition drive, said the show informs people about global affairs so they can get involved and take action. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, "Petition drive aims to save WBEZ’s ‘Worldview,’ a program that covers how world affairs relate to Chicago," 21 June 2019 The Windsor Senior Center is currently looking for a volunteer who has great knowledge in genealogy to teach a new monthly genealogy class at the Senior Center. courant.com, "Community News For The Windsor Edition," 19 June 2019 In the demonstration at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Training Facility, three dogs individually found a volunteer hiding inside tires. Washington Post, "Good dog! Florida K-9 unit ready for busy hurricane season," 19 June 2019 While Yousafzai addressed the public in his weekly conference, a volunteer on the team accidentally activated the cat filter on Facebook Live, causing the minister to appear with digital cat ears, whiskers, and rosy cheeks. Natt Garun, The Verge, "Cat filter derails Pakistani politician’s live-streamed press conference," 17 June 2019 In December, 2018, a volunteer who teaches photography at a school for refugee children on the Greek island of Samos gave Kodak disposable cameras to her class. Nicolas Niarchos, The New Yorker, "On a Greek Island That Welcomed Migrants, Residents and Refugees Feel Abandoned," 13 June 2019 Bentley began working as a volunteer at KCRW following his graduation from Santa Monica High School in 1988 and earned his first regular weeknight air shift in 1992. Chris Eggertsen, Billboard, "KCRW's Jason Bentley Stepping Down as Music Director and 'Morning Becomes Eclectic' Host," 13 June 2019 Bruck – who created art in various mediums – was a longtime volunteer and an avid supporter of the arts nonprofit. Sarah Bonnette, nola.com, "Artscape: Longtime St. Tammany Art Association volunteer Dr. Roberta Bruck honored," 12 June 2019 The archive's parent organization, the Organization for Transformative Works, is a nonprofit, and everyone involved in the project is a volunteer. Gretchen Mcculloch, WIRED, "Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online," 11 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Those interested in volunteering or learning more about Houston Ground Angels, visit the website, www.houstongroundangels.org. Rebecca Maitland, Houston Chronicle, "Houston Ground Angels gives back to community through volunteering," 21 June 2019 Anyone who's interested in volunteering can do so by filling out her Google Doc. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Southern Indiana Pride is this weekend. Here's everything you need to know," 20 June 2019 Rotary Club: The Rotary Club of Campbell holds weekly lunches with its members and guests to discuss charitable events, volunteering and leadership programs. Anne Gelhaus, The Mercury News, "West Valley calendar of events for the week of June 21," 16 June 2019 Tickets to each meal cost $35, which paid for food costs, and those unable to afford admission could volunteer in the kitchen for free entry. Melissa Kravitz, Condé Nast Traveler, "Meet the Woman Behind Babetown, a Monthly Pop-Up Dinner for LGBTQ+ Travelers," 14 June 2019 Consider volunteering or taking classes in a subject that’s always fascinated you. Nathan Bachrach And Amy Wagner, Cincinnati.com, "Simply Money: Want to thrive during retirement? Focus on these four things," 12 June 2019 The effort encourages participants to volunteer or perform acts of kindness during the 49 days leading up to June 12 and then share their stories on social media using #ActLoveGive. Kate Santich, orlandosentinel.com, "Community pays tribute to Pulse victims and survivors with art, song, prayer and memorial run," 6 June 2019 Today, her sons also volunteer, as well as her grandchildren. Grace Dickinson, https://www.inquirer.com, "Huntingdon Valley’s June Fete: Rides, funnel cake, and 100-plus years of history," 5 June 2019 After this rejection, Corbyn then volunteered himself as the key speaker at an anti-Trump rally. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "Trump, Britain, and the Special Relationship," 5 June 2019

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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