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 Since founding Texas EquuSearch in 2000, Miller and his team of volunteers have been involved in more than 1,800 searchs in 42 states, as well as multiple other countries. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Person of interest sought in Aniah Blanchard disappearance," 6 Nov. 2019 Many parents have taken their children to the rapids and told them about how in 1918, a team of volunteers saved two sailors after their boat had lurched dangerously close to one of the waterfalls’ edges. Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, "Boat Stuck at Niagara Falls Moves for First Time Since 1918," 5 Nov. 2019 The organization receives about 15 applications per month, and after the board chooses the couples, Guthrie said, task forces of volunteers from local committees throughout the country plan the festivities. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Wish Upon a Wedding has made dreams come true for 150 couples facing serious illness," 4 Nov. 2019 Coy, Schanilec and a dedicated bunch of volunteers scoured the riverbanks collecting objects that inspired the illustrations, including stones, bricks, bark, driftwood, a snakeskin and a dead fish. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Literary pick of the week: Remarkable story flows from ‘My Mighty Journey’," 3 Nov. 2019 Small and a group of volunteers went to work removing the dirt, stones and debris from the grateful patient's wounds. Ryan Bergeron, CNN, "Medical students take to the streets to give free care to Detroit's homeless," 2 Nov. 2019 For over a decade, hundreds of volunteers from around the world have traveled to the West Bank each year to accompany Palestinian farmers to olive groves in high risk areas. Noor Ibrahim, Time, "Olive Groves in the West Bank Have Become a Battleground. That's Why Volunteers Come From Around the World to Help at Harvest Time," 1 Nov. 2019 In addition to decorators adding Christmas pieces to rooms, some of the volunteers also took on this task. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Elaborately decorated Christmas Fantasy House is a festive way to raise funds for children with cancer," 31 Oct. 2019 To cut through that fog, researchers at NOAA have spent more than a decade gathering data on surface pressure, temperature, and sea ice conditions from archives around the world that are being digitized and transcribed with the help of volunteers. Madeleine Stone, National Geographic, "Decades of detailed weather reports pulled from old sailor's logs," 25 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Zapanta spoke about growing up in a East Los Angeles community similar to the neighborhood around Saltillo Street where young men who had survived the gang life volunteered for combat in Vietnam. Vincent T. Davis, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio veterans honored at West Side community center," 8 Nov. 2019 Since mid-September, Cheryl has been picking up passengers from Grand Celebration who had chosen volunteering as their shore excursion. Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, "After Hurricane Dorian, one Bahama island is ready for the winter rush," 8 Nov. 2019 As Sanders has cheerfully volunteered, Washington would take a supervisory role in how public colleges operate, with federal bureaucrats issuing edicts on college offerings, staffing, salaries, and much else. Frederick M. Hess, National Review, "Break Up the B.A. Cartel," 7 Nov. 2019 The case is exceptional because a team of high-profile law firms volunteered to litigate the complicated asylum case, which forced the government to provide at least some answers. Melissa Del Bosque, ProPublica, "Border Agents Can Now Get Classified Intelligence Information. Experts Call That Dangerous.," 1 Nov. 2019 Some, for example, offer lift tickets in return for volunteering at events. John Meyer, The Know, "3 ways to score free season passes at Colorado ski resorts," 1 Nov. 2019 Those who volunteer receive the same entry-level training that the state's seasonal firefighters receive. Isabelle Chapman, CNN, "Prison inmates are fighting California's fires, but are often denied firefighting jobs after their release," 31 Oct. 2019 For information about volunteering opportunities, contact Robbins at hrobbins@concordindy.org or 317-637-4376, ext. 2141. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Season for Sharing: Concord Neighborhood Center alleviates financial burden of child care for south-side families," 31 Oct. 2019 Though others had volunteered to join in, none had offered to be the lead — a pivotal requirement for the investing round. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "Social connections first, science second: How biotech’s recipe for success has its limits," 31 Oct. 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
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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