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 The best way for people to become involved in the event — as a participant, a volunteer, or a sponsor — is to visit the website at hopebeyondbridges.org. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Hope Beyond Bridges set to host fourth annual Golf for Hope fundraiser," 17 Oct. 2020 The Peace Corps volunteer sparked a #SaveSocrates outcry on social media. Anchorage Daily News, "Inside the Fall of the CDC," 16 Oct. 2020 The Peace Corps volunteer sparked a #SaveSocrates outcry on social media. James Bandler, ProPublica, "Inside the Fall of the CDC," 15 Oct. 2020 Only the Data Safety Monitoring Board members know which shot the volunteer received. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson have paused COVID-19 vaccine trials. Why experts say that's reassuring, not frightening.," 14 Oct. 2020 Another volunteer, Steve Mueller, studied the 1970s development of Jonathan, a Chaska neighborhood initially planned as a walkable, environmentally friendly community with a mix of housing types. Katy Read, Star Tribune, "Chaska Historical Society opens this year's exhibit remotely," 14 Oct. 2020 The company doesn’t know whether the volunteer who fell ill got the experimental shot or a placebo, Mr. Wolk said. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "J&J Hopes Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Will Restart Shortly," 13 Oct. 2020 An independent review board and the British drug regulator concluded the volunteer's condition was unlikely to have been caused by the inoculation and trials were allowed to resume. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "A Pelosi snub and a giant federal COVID grant: Another dizzying day in Washington for the U.K.’s AstraZeneca," 12 Oct. 2020 The longtime community volunteer is a supporter of Carroll ISD, Southlake’s police and fire departments and civic engagement including the promotion of arts and culture. Anna Caplan, Dallas News, "Southlake voters, here’s what’s on your ballot for the 2020 November elections," 12 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those who volunteer must be at least 18 years old and healthy. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Johnson & Johnson pauses trial of COVID vaccine on same day U-M announces partnership," 13 Oct. 2020 Some kids who volunteer are from the communities that are affected. Washington Post, "When disaster strikes, chef José Andrés delivers food worldwide," 7 Oct. 2020 Entrepreneurs fill out an online form on Taproot’s site to get paired with one of more than 70,000 professionals who volunteer to hold 60-minute consultation sessions. Nick Leiber, Bloomberg.com, "A California Family Comes Together to Sell Pandemic Supplies," 5 Oct. 2020 During previous wildfires, California has used state prison inmates who volunteer for reduced sentences and a small amounts of money. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Photos of California’s fires reveal massive destruction across the state," 21 Aug. 2020 The shortage has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which reduced the availability of inmates who volunteer each wildfire season to clear dry brush and build break lines in exchange for a reduction to their sentences and a small salary. Alexei Koseff, SFChronicle.com, "California calls for firefighting help from other states as crews are stretched thin," 19 Aug. 2020 Not all patients who volunteer to take part in clinical trials are eligible to participate. Matthew Perrone, Anchorage Daily News, "Fauci optimistic COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available, dismisses Trump tweet," 31 July 2020 Those who volunteer to come back first will be asked to provide feedback about safety protocols. Alia Malik, ExpressNews.com, "Some teachers in San Antonio will give virtual lessons from empty classrooms because of the coronavirus," 31 July 2020 Speaking of democracy, on Oct. 2, Fey released a video in partnership with HeadCount encouraging people to check their voter registration status, request a mail-in ballot, or volunteer to work at the polls. Travel + Leisure, "The Cast of 'Mean Girls' Finally Reunited for This Very Good Reason," 3 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 In Maryland, the pandemic is straining an already overtaxed volunteer emergency response system. Dan Levin, New York Times, "Volunteer Emergency Responders Face a Dilemma: Save Lives or Stay Safe," 26 Apr. 2020 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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Time Traveler for volunteer

Time Traveler

The first known use of volunteer was circa 1600

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Statistics for volunteer

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Volunteer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volunteer. Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for volunteer

volunteer

noun
How to pronounce volunteer (audio)

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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