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

Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine. Washington Post, "20 dead as truck falls off cliff in southern Philippines," 18 Sep. 2019 Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine. Fox News, "20 Philippine villagers killed when truck falls off cliff," 17 Sep. 2019 Volusia County staff, volunteers and contractors already marked nearly 1,000 sea turtle nests this season on its beaches, breaking the previous high nest count of 919 set in 2012. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, "Hundreds of sea turtle nests lost after Hurricane Dorian —‘It could have been worse’," 17 Sep. 2019 Additionally, campaigns-with their plethora of volunteers and sprawling networks- are unfortunately, a very soft target for cyber criminals. Ray Rothrock, The Mercury News, "Opinion: Cyber attacks threaten security of 2020 election," 15 Sep. 2019 Fortunately, the Dog Ranch Rescue in Anna, Texas, took him in, and Mary Jones, 66, a rescue volunteer and retired vet tech, adopted the now year-old pup last spring. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Meet Kasey! Puppy Mill Survivor and Winner of the World’s Cutest Rescue Dog Contest," 12 Sep. 2019 Of the 300 stylish volunteers and fashion plates in attendance, an intimate group of VIPs were treated to a party-before-the-party via an interactive style lounge. Amber Elliott, Houston Chronicle, "Big changes to Junior League's Opening Style Show lead to the ultimate Tuesday night fashion party," 11 Sep. 2019 While those military members were from other states, the dedicated group of UW volunteers and researchers will begin concentrating on bringing Wisconsin MIAs back home. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More than 1,500 Wisconsinites are missing in war zones around the world. This bill would fund the search for those MIAs.," 10 Sep. 2019 Police issued a missing person alert for Kyle on Aug. 31, and by Sunday about 50 volunteers and half a dozen professional rescuers were involved in the search. Elisha Fieldstadt, NBC News, "Family, crews search for hiker missing in Hawaii for more than a week," 9 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Prenz Sa-Ngoun, a community organizer and former Buddhist monk, volunteered to stock the deli counter, wash dishes, clean and the run the cash register during the business’ final days. Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times, "Queen’s Deli in White Center nurtured the Khmer community," 16 Sep. 2019 As an enticement, San Diego has volunteered to pick up the initial startup costs needed to get the CCA off the ground. Rob Nikolewski, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Community choice energy across San Diego on the cusp of becoming reality," 16 Sep. 2019 In nine key races in the Richmond suburbs, 258 people volunteered in August alone — up from 142 in those districts for all of 2015, the party said. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "Virginia’s ‘off-off-year’ elections were once sleepy. And then came Trump.," 14 Sep. 2019 Three or four others also volunteered to join the team. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Friday night flight: How football's decline is impacting high school sports," 13 Sep. 2019 Adamic, 60, volunteered at the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, where she was remembered as compassionate, honest and inclusive. Los Angeles Times, "34 people trapped on burning boat. The crew was asleep and unable to help, officials say," 13 Sep. 2019 Winters, 25, who works at Vandross Hair Design in Lincoln Park, volunteers her time one day a week to work in the salon for appointments and walk-ins. Kate Thayer, chicagotribune.com, "Lurie Children’s Hospital gives free haircuts to sick kids, their parents: ‘A haircut is a little boost of confidence’," 13 Sep. 2019 Hundreds volunteered to do everything from hand-sewing hundreds of costumes to creating dozens of elaborate hairstyles. CBS News, "L.A. high school revives Mexican dance tradition many parents left behind," 12 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, no one has volunteered to come to get Nancy. Byron Mccauley, Cincinnati.com, "'Nancy' the chicken has squatted at my house. She needs to find her own flock.," 12 Sep. 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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