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

Here’s the Post: Johnson brought volunteers into the RV to take pictures with Trump. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Another Woman Has Accused Donald Trump of Sexual Misconduct," 25 Feb. 2019 About 40 civilians, including a French woman, left the enclave Tuesday morning, apparently after paying smugglers, said a member of the Free Burma Rangers, a volunteer medical group. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Pressure builds to get civilians out of last IS-held enclave," 20 Feb. 2019 State and local police, fire, and EMS workers are all eligible for the discount, be they current employees, retirees, or volunteers. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Verizon offers emergency first responders discounts on unlimited plans," 6 Dec. 2018 The project trained citizen volunteers to digitally trace the buildings and roads that appear in satellite images, creating maps. Mallory Locklear, Discover Magazine, "With Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Scientists Are Getting Smarter About Outbreaks," 8 Nov. 2018 The system doesn’t account for the very different nature of military service today, with volunteer soldiers facing multiple combat deployments in very stressful environments. WSJ, "Blame Congress, not the VA, for Hero ‘Non-Veterans’," 21 Feb. 2019 The duchess had just watched a volunteer prepare food parcels to be handed out the same day to vulnerable women working on the streets. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Duchess Meghan Shared Touching Messages with Vulnerable Women During Bristol Visit," 1 Feb. 2019 The program offers free hot meals prepared by volunteer chefs, as well as ingredients and recipes for families to take home and prepare themselves. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "How to Help Federal Workers During the Government Shutdown," 25 Jan. 2019 On a typical day in 2011, Chicago Field Museum volunteer Karen Nordquist was undertaking her usual task: sifting ancient mud through a mesh screen that captures small fossils. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "A New Shark Species Was Found in the Mud of Sue the T. Rex," 21 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Of course, those who are able to support organizations are always encouraged to donate or volunteer and can do so 365 days a year. Karina Hoshikawa, Allure, "M.A.C. and Benefit Cosmetics Are Teaming Up to Support Planned Parenthood," 12 Mar. 2019 Another option is to give themselves up for a cause, which could include volunteering. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "When is Lent? Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Christian Holiday," 13 Feb. 2019 But Billy Enriques, an Abilene school board member and Baptist who for years volunteered to teach adult education courses at a local Catholic church, would like to see more done to keep children from Mexico with their parents. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Abilene (a Trump hotbed) braces for its 'tent city' for immigrant children," 18 June 2018 My father volunteered in early 1941, before Pearl Harbor, and became an officer in the U.S. Navy. Jennings Brown, Popular Mechanics, "What My Father Taught Me: Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger," 15 Jan. 2019 Beauregard has volunteered at the organization since its founding in 1990. Rebecca Ellis, miamiherald, "Shake-A-Leg's fleet mysteriously vandalized in the dead of night," 5 July 2018 According to the affidavit, Kevin Brown volunteered to take a lie detector test. CBS News, "Were the murders of California teens the work of a serial killer?," 9 June 2018 Our combat units can only be filled by Americans who are willing to step forward and volunteer their service. WSJ, "A Fierce Battle Over Women in Combat Units," 22 Jan. 2019 Of all the exciting opportunities that have come from the Property Brothers episode, the ability to volunteer with this organization while bringing attention to it is definitely her favorite. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, ""How A 'Property Brothers' Episode Changed My Life"," 12 Jan. 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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Statistics for volunteer

Last Updated

18 Mar 2019

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

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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