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 Once the form has been filled out and submitted, a volunteer with Fresh Start will call you to acquire more information to help set up an appointment. Brieanna J. Frank, The Arizona Republic, "'You just gave me life': Groups help seniors, disabled people get COVID-19 vaccine appointments," 20 Feb. 2021 Photos posted to various social media platforms show the volunteer's rescue efforts to save the turtles. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, "Volunteers Scramble to Save Thousands of Sea Turtles Following Texas Arctic Freeze," 15 Feb. 2021 At the end of the conversation, Tracy said that the volunteer thanked her for being brave. Susanna Schrobsdorff, Time, "Dear Struggling Parents, It's Not Just You. This Is Hard," 31 Jan. 2021 Everyone who came to volunteer would be given a job, even the children. Celina Caesar-chavannes, refinery29.com, "How Celina Caesar-Chavannes Took On Ottawa (& Trudeau) Her Way," 28 Jan. 2021 The longtime community volunteer does that and other acts of kindness without giving it a second thought. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "East Side auto shop owner proud of service to his San Antonio community and rodeo," 25 Jan. 2021 In four days, 2,006 people, referred by their doctors or via an online posting to Nextdoor, received vaccinations, said Joe Schoendorf, a volunteer with the foundation who helped organize the event. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Two Bay Area community clinics cut through red tape to speed vaccines for seniors," 17 Jan. 2021 The more serious concerns come from the death of a volunteer on Dec. 21, 2020, nine days after receiving the first dose of the Covaxin trial. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Grave ethical allegations hound India’s homegrown Covid-19 vaccine as it prepares for rollout," 12 Jan. 2021 All churches rely to some degree on volunteer labor to function. New York Times, "The Rise and Fall of Carl Lentz, the Celebrity Pastor of Hillsong Church," 5 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb How to contribute Anyone looking to volunteer or make a monetary donation to the Red Cross can do so at RedCross.org. Elliot Hughes, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Fires displaced more than 500 people in Wisconsin in January. Now the American Red Cross needs help.," 5 Feb. 2021 Counselors tell me to volunteer or get involved in groups. cleveland, "Dear Annie: Look beyond your own world to see what others are going through too," 17 Jan. 2021 There's a clear narrative around the importance of exercising your right to go to the polls, vote by mail, or even volunteer this election. Britni De La Cretaz, refinery29.com, "Domestic Violence Is About Power & Control — It’s Also A Tool Of Voter Suppression," 27 Oct. 2020 If those savings aren’t formally applied to tuition, then they can be applied for new supplies including a tablet or transportation, should their child choose to work or volunteer outside of the home. Cheryl Winokur Munk, WSJ, "How Covid-19 Has Changed the Way People Should Save for College," 17 Oct. 2020 The best chance that many South Africans have to get vaccinated anytime soon is to volunteer for a clinical trial and test unproven vaccines on their bodies. New York Times, "For Covid-19 Vaccines, Some Are Too Rich — and Too Poor," 28 Dec. 2020 Local non-profits like Student Impact, Westfield Rotary Club, Westfield youth assistance program and Open Doors food pantry have counted on Will to volunteer for a multitude of projects. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "IFCA names a 'Good Works' team to honor players, teams for commitment to serving others," 18 Dec. 2020 Jackie Stone wanted to volunteer for a Covid-19 vaccine trial as soon as one was available. Rolfe Winkler, WSJ, "Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Volunteers Note Occasional Harsh Side Effects," 16 Dec. 2020 As people volunteer for local COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, many concerns keep rising: Is taking the vaccine early an acceptable risk? Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Doctors to answer reader questions about COVID-19 vaccinations Dec. 14 and 16 on Facebook Live," 12 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Metairie is a no-kill, all-volunteer, nonprofit dog rescue group and shelter. Staff Reports, NOLA.com, "Louisiana State Museum offers inside look at Carnival treasures, and more metro community news," 3 Feb. 2021 There are no real qualifications for becoming an elector beyond a deep connection to a political party, either as an activist, donor, politician or super-volunteer. New York Times, "Electoral College Voter: Long an Honor, and Now Also a Headache," 14 Dec. 2020 Fewer and fewer Americans are connected to the country’s all-volunteer professional military. H.r. Mcmaster, WSJ, "Ponder the Rewards of Military Service," 10 Nov. 2020 The fire department is primarily volunteer with more than 150 firefighters available to respond to calls. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Troy closes fire station after multiple firefighters test positive for COVID-19," 9 Nov. 2020 The Friends of Jerusalem Mill, an all-volunteer, nonprofit public charity, preserves and maintains the historic Jerusalem Mill Village in Kingsville, and the 25 surrounding acres that includes hiking trails and picnic areas. baltimoresun.com, "Friends of Jerusalem Mill donates $500 each to Joppa-Magnolia, Kingsville fire companies after First Responder Day canceled," 31 Aug. 2020 The all-volunteer, non-profit community theater group has a mortgage to pay on its Mechanic Street theater, utilities, and insurance. Sue Kiesewetter, The Enquirer, "COVID could bring down curtain on Lebanon theater group without additional funds," 25 Aug. 2020 Of course, anyone who can afford to send more is also encouraged to help -- the organization is all volunteer and stretched pretty thinly right now thanks to Mr. Covid. Sam Boyer, cleveland, "Things are looking very different in Brunswick: Whit & Whimsey," 13 Aug. 2020 An all-volunteer nonprofit organization, VCONT provides veterans with financial assistance and referral services to a network of public and private agencies for services and support. Nancy Baldwin, Dallas News, "After overcoming addiction and adversity, a Dallas veteran shares her restored hope with others," 30 June 2020

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

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Volunteer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volunteer. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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