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

Other left-wing advocacy groups, such as Swing Left and Indivisible, are helping to recruit volunteers and generate grass-roots support in competitive districts. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018 The groups represent more than 2,200 volunteers protecting 55,700 buildings and 6,700 acres, using 70 defensible space projects, 93 drills and 324 training workshops. Rob Nikolewski, sandiegouniontribune.com, "SDG&E awards $1M to groups fighting wildfires," 12 July 2018 Calling all cat lovers: Sacramento’s animal shelter says it’s overflowing with kittens and needs volunteers to help house the critters for a few weeks. Anna Buchmann, sacbee, "Sacramento shelter declares ‘kitty crisis,’ seeks volunteers for foster care," 12 July 2018 Benjamin made time for giving back to the larger community and served in a variety of volunteer capacities including as President of the Lions Club. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Benjamin Goldberg," 12 July 2018 The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place oxygen canisters along the route. Author: Tassanee Vejpongsa, Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Anchorage Daily News, "4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 remain inside," 9 July 2018 The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place oxygen canisters along the route. Tassanee Vejpongsa And Kaweewit Kaewjinda, Houston Chronicle, "4 rescued from Thai cave in risky operation; 9 remain inside," 9 July 2018 The diver, the first fatality of the rescue effort, was working in a volunteer capacity and died on a mission to place air canisters along the passage to where the boys are, necessary for divers to safely travel the five- to six-hour route. Kaweewit Kaewjinda And Stephen Wright, chicagotribune.com, "Rescue of remaining 4 boys, coach from flooded Thai cave could take two operations," 9 July 2018 In retirement in 2016, Ms. Colgan-Davis led volunteers to reopen the library at the Kelly Elementary School in Germantown. Bonnie L. Cook, Philly.com, "Joan 'Penny' Colgan-Davis, innovative educator and clerk of Quaker meetings," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The duties of the Park Board also include volunteering at events and listening to concerns or issues of residents, as well as the ongoing review of budgets. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Yorkville aldermen back Park Board," 14 June 2018 Lessons in family and community were on display in the actions of Beth Pichon, her brother, Mike, and the many relatives and friends volunteering at booths inside and outside of St. Genevieve's Family Center. Robert Rhoden, NOLA.com, "Former Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway dies at 79: report," 5 June 2018 Human beings might find, say, volunteering at a local soup kitchen more satisfying emotionally. The Economist, "Can “effective altruism” maximise the bang for each charitable buck?," 2 June 2018 Dozens of his Hurricanes, in turn, spend the off-season volunteering at local school programs and community centers. Susan Miller Degnan, miamiherald, "Mark Richt feels the love, and here's why UM football fans should be celebrating today | Miami Herald," 3 May 2018 Faculty and students fanned out to volunteer in the area around the campus, and USC launched 300 community out-reach programs, which led to its being named Time’s College of the Year in 2000. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "Can USC Survive Scandal and Shed Its Spoiled-Kid Reputation Once and For All?," 10 July 2018 Spectators can watch tournament play for free, and people wishing to volunteer with the tournament can do so at https://usaboccianationals.sportngin.com/register/form/533023306. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "National boccia tournament to bring 94 athletes to Naperville," 26 June 2018 Roger volunteers his handyman skills on campus and is the president of the Dad’s Club. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "PUSD names Volunteers of the Year for 2018," 21 June 2018 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

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

14 Oct 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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