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 Camp Tawonga, which has its own volunteer COVID task force that includes experts from UCSF, will be abiding by these recommendations and then some, according to Jamie Simon, chief executive officer at the Tawonga Jewish Community Corporation. Susie Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle, "California sleepaway camps will be open this summer. Here's how parents are assessing the risks," 29 Mar. 2021 Physicians have borne much of the burden, says Mona Masood, a Philadelphia-area psychiatrist and founder of the Physician Support Line, a free call-in service staffed by volunteer psychiatrists. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "‘I’m empty.’ Pandemic scientists are burning out—and don’t see an end in sight," 29 Mar. 2021 The temple baptistries will welcome small groups, particularly youths who take part in this volunteer work. David Noyce, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Latter-day Saint youths soon can return to Utah temples to perform baptisms for the dead," 29 Mar. 2021 Federal, state, county, city and volunteer fire agencies all have been called to help fight the fire. Paul P. Murphy, CNN, "Evacuations underway in Black Hills of South Dakota as Schroeder wildfire grows," 29 Mar. 2021 Lori Bendall, who has been active with the Chagrin Falls Schools for more than a decade as a parent and volunteer, has been appointed to the Chagrin Falls Board of Education. cleveland, "New Chagrin Falls school board member brings experience with recruiting," 29 Mar. 2021 As one volunteer flipped burgers and hot dogs, others packed them into containers and handed out chips, cookies and sodas. al, "On the trail of an EF3: Tracking the path of March 25′s strongest Alabama tornado," 29 Mar. 2021 On March 18, a volunteer moderator of the recall group’s Facebook page, a Lowell graduate named Diane Yap, discovered Ms. Collins’s tweets. New York Times, "In San Francisco, Turmoil Over Reopening Schools Turns a City Against Itself," 29 Mar. 2021 Each year, the all-volunteer Bel Air Independence Day Committee organizes and plans the day-long event months in advance, including the securing of contracts, coverage and agreements with deadlines. S. Wayne Carter Jr., baltimoresun.com, "Bel Air Independence Day Committee planning for the return of July 4 fireworks and parade this summer," 29 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Few people in those parts of the world made rich by carbon-dioxide-emitting enterprise are going to volunteer for a cut in living standards. The Economist, "Global warming Those who worry about CO2 should worry about methane, too," 31 Mar. 2021 Caleb Chung, who turns 13 later this week, agreed to volunteer after his father, a Duke University pediatrician, presented the option. Matthew Perrone, Anchorage Daily News, "Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children as young as 12," 31 Mar. 2021 Caleb Chung, who turns 13 later this week, agreed to volunteer after his father, a Duke University pediatrician, presented the option. BostonGlobe.com, "Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine protects younger teens," 31 Mar. 2021 Details are still being worked out, but random students would likely be asked to volunteer for the tests. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's COVID-19 case rate is 2nd worst in US, schools go virtual, hospitals fill up," 25 Mar. 2021 One felt called by her Catholic faith to volunteer for those less fortunate than her. Washington Post, "Atlanta spa shooting victims highlight struggles for Asian and Asian American immigrant women in low-wage jobs," 20 Mar. 2021 Sometimes, gate agents will ask if anyone wants to volunteer to check in their carry-on in order to save space in overhead bins. Ambar Pardilla, NBC News, "The best carry-on luggage of 2021: Amazon, Away, ROAM and more," 19 Mar. 2021 Her 12-year-old brother, Sam, wasn’t quite so quick to volunteer. chicagotribune.com, "COVID-19 vaccines for children: When can kids get shots? Do they even need them?," 15 Mar. 2021 Another step would be to volunteer for projects that have high impact and high visibility. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "Ready To Move Up The Ladder? 16 Ways To Show The Boss," 11 Mar. 2021 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

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Volunteer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volunteer. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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