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 By Thursday morning, the volunteers had banned over 5,000 anti-vaccine accounts on Facebookand the angry calls to Baldwin's office had slowed. Erin Glynn, Cincinnati.com, "'It is frightening.' A Cincinnati pediatrician created a viral TikTok video supporting vaccinations. Then things got ugly.," 17 Jan. 2020 Cody’s mother, Alicia, is one of the dedicated volunteers who bake cakes for others. Michelle Matthews | Mmatthews@al.com, al, "When it comes to raising money for kids with cancer, this guy takes the cake," 15 Jan. 2020 The sorority sisters will be among the 600 volunteers creating career workbooks, padfolios, mock interview flashcards, and other tools for adults and teenagers entering the workforce, according to Boston Cares. Andrew Stanton, BostonGlobe.com, "Psi Omega members to create learning tools for immigrants on MLK Day," 14 Jan. 2020 While the volunteer talking points reportedly came from Sanders' staff, the Vermont senator himself has largely avoided directly critiquing Warren, his fellow progressive. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Warren and Sanders set to take the gloves off at Tuesday's debate," 13 Jan. 2020 The volunteers had been trained by Call for Action, which operates about 20 similar helplines across the U.S. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "IndyStar Call for Action: An average of $1,067 saved or recovered every day for 4 years," 13 Jan. 2020 With permission from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, the volunteers cared for an unused strip of RTA land next to its rapid transit Red Line tracks. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Red Line Greenway trail shows great promise, despite ugly duckling start — Steven Litt," 12 Jan. 2020 Then the volunteers wrote an uplifting message for the recipient on the bag itself. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Hashtag Lunchbag serves up food and messages for the homeless," 29 Dec. 2019 The volunteers often come from Tokyo and are unfamiliar with rural life. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "Is Nuclear Power Worth the Risk?," 22 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those interested in volunteering for the Denison UCC fire watch can email FNBeastCLE@gmail.com or text Maggie Rice at 440-340-3663. Michael K. Mcintyre, cleveland, "At Denison UCC, 71 fire watch volunteers help homeless center remain open," 19 Jan. 2020 And just to top off the festivities, guests enjoyed the performance of the Santa’s Goody Bag Band, a huge ensemble of local musicians and horn players, who volunteer to entertain at large community events. Sharon Hannon, Cincinnati.com, "Annual Homeless Awareness Community Dinner held in Sharonville," 16 Jan. 2020 Hairstylists interested in volunteering their skills can call her at 781-336-6737. Johanna Seltz, BostonGlobe.com, "Plymouth volunteers give haircuts to homeless people," 14 Jan. 2020 For those interested in volunteering, visit https://houston.uso.org/support/volunteer. Savannah Mehrtens, Houston Chronicle, "IAH USO provides military a home away from home," 3 Jan. 2020 Throughout my time in Corvallis, I have been involved in volunteering and raising money for homeless shelters in Corvallis. Mikayla Pivec | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Mikayla Pivec’s Oregon State women’s basketball diary: 12-0 but far from perfect, Christmas parties, reflecting on the passing of Chad Finn," 3 Jan. 2020 If interested in volunteering please call JoAnn Ewing, Director of the Senior Center, at 860-267-4426. courant.com, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 6 Dec. 2019 Between 2004 and 2015, 31 states experienced significant declines in volunteering. Washington Post, "Junior League of Washington ends annual Holiday Shops as it adapts to changing times," 23 Nov. 2019 Those interested in volunteering can contact Saint Mary's at 502-254-7298 and set a time to meet and discuss opportunities. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "How and where to volunteer in Louisville during the holiday season," 13 Nov. 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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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 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Volunteer.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/volunteers. Accessed 29 January 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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