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

Several farm workers and a couple of volunteers who heard about the loose pigs trudged up and down the dirt road hill Thursday trying to drive any pigs back into the Sugar Mountain Farm in Orange. NBC News, "Hundreds of pigs escape Vermont farm; most back with help from trail of hot dog buns," 30 Aug. 2019 Several farm workers and a couple of volunteers who heard about the loose pigs trudged up and down the dirt road hill Thursday trying to drive any pigs back into the Sugar Mountain Farm in Orange. Lisa Rathke, BostonGlobe.com, "A Vermont town was overrun by 250 pigs. Most of them are back home now," 29 Aug. 2019 Some of those volunteers may have been students of Todd Katz, a teacher at Chicago’s Whitney Young Magnet High School, who encouraged students to work as a monitor to fulfill a summer assignment. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, "Plover and out: The summer stars of Montrose Beach head south for the winter," 29 Aug. 2019 Co-chairmen Jerry Squadrito and Tim O’Connor led a dedicated staff of volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to put on another successful tournament that has become a neighborhood favorite. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "Walk on Water Fishing Tournament combines family fun and Special Olympics charity," 29 Aug. 2019 Lopez traveled from Houston to San Antonio Saturday to participate in a search party organized by a group of volunteers. Emilie Eaton, ExpressNews.com, "Husband of missing San Antonio woman seen unloading chainsaw, two shovels in front of home, police say," 29 Aug. 2019 Several farm workers and a couple of volunteers who heard about the loose pigs trudged up and down the dirt road hill Thursday trying to drive any pigs back into the Sugar Mountain Farm in Orange. Washington Post, "250 pigs escape; most back, some with help from hot dog buns," 29 Aug. 2019 Cindependent was organized by a team of 15 volunteers. Briana Rice, Cincinnati.com, "Local indie film festival returns to Cincinnati for a second year," 29 Aug. 2019 It was painted on the parking lot of the Sin Lee market at 4665 El Cajon Boulevard by artist Shinpei Takeda and a small group of volunteers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "City Heights mural depicts Vietnamese refugee stories," 28 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

However, unconfirmed accounts over the years suggest that Pollard was never recruited as a spy, but rather volunteered for the work after being introduced to an Israeli military officer in New York in 1984. Washington Post, "Israel denies reports that it set up spying devices in Washington," 13 Sep. 2019 My parents never asked us or pushed us [to volunteer for St. Jude]. BostonGlobe.com, "Governor Charlie Baker’s former chief legal counsel," 10 Sep. 2019 Alabamians have always been among the first to volunteer for military service. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "Support more than our troops; support our people," 4 Sep. 2019 The next two decades were spent raising three children and volunteering for organizations from the PTA to the Cub Scouts to the church, where the young mother sang in the choir. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Priscilla M. Tainter-Scherr, former public relations official at Sheppard Pratt, dies," 2 Sep. 2019 Dear Annie: My stepfather loves to volunteer for community work. cleveland.com, "Dear Annie: My stepdad is too busy to help around the house and we’re getting tired of it," 1 Sep. 2019 Montemarano received the certificate in June from Greg Magno, the principal of Mt. Carmel High School in Peñasquitos, where Montemarano has volunteered for the past 12 years speaking to students in history classes. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Local veteran, 93, earns his high school diploma, 75 years later," 25 Aug. 2019 In fact, many of us who have chosen to work or volunteer for the Olympic and Paralympic movements do so because of the role sport plays in our society. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "U.S. Olympic officials reprimand but don't punish athletes who protested at Pan Ams," 20 Aug. 2019 In fact, many of us who have chosen to work or volunteer for the Olympic and Paralympic movements do so because of the role sport plays in our society. Jenna West, SI.com, "U.S. Olympic Officials Won't Punish Athletes Who Protested at Pan American Games," 20 Aug. 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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