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

Mevan Babakar, 29, appealed for information on the man's whereabouts on Twitter, posting an old picture of the kind volunteer. NBC News, "Trump wants to buy ... Greenland? Plus Israel's 'watershed moment' and the week in pictures," 16 Aug. 2019 Joe Biden's campaign set up down the street from the arena to talk to voters and enlist volunteers. Kevin Freking, Fortune, "At Rally, Trump Ties U.S. Success to 2nd Term: ‘You Have to Vote for Me’," 16 Aug. 2019 Some volunteers, Turner says, had collected thousands of them. Rob Arnold, National Geographic, "New plastic pollution formed by fire looks like rocks," 16 Aug. 2019 Biden's campaign set up down the street from the arena to talk to voters and enlist volunteers. Fox News, "Trump tells NH rallygoers 'we have a bunch of socialists or communists to beat' -- as Dem rivals gather nearby," 15 Aug. 2019 Increasing reliance on private military and security contractors in U.S. war zones also reduce the number of volunteers needed to fight wars overseas. Rebecca U. Thorpe, The Conversation, "One budget line Congress can agree on: Spending billions on the US military," 14 Aug. 2019 Smith said he volunteers after this regular job and on weekends, often speaking at community events designed to help people understand what the Internet Essentials program is all about. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Comcast program helps low-income customers get home internet for $10/month," 14 Aug. 2019 During Big Cypress Gallery’s Fall Festival event, October 26 to 27, visit Clyde Butcher’s fine art photography art gallery (and meet the artist himself!), and then join park rangers and volunteers for a journey under the cypress dome. Holly V. Kapherr, USA TODAY, "Fall for Paradise Coast: 6 things to add to your autumn itinerary this season," 13 Aug. 2019 Jasmine encouraged anyone near Clovis to help surprise the deserving family with a cottage-style home built with the help of 1,000 volunteers in 96 hours. Selena Barrientos, House Beautiful, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," 7 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With Tom’s help, Kate begins to ditch her cynicism and embrace the spirit of the holidays, which includes singing carols in public, volunteering at a homeless shelter, skating under holiday lights, and kissing Henry Golding. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding in New "Last Christmas" Trailer Are Holiday Rom-Com Couple Goals," 14 Aug. 2019 It’s organizing play dates and birthday parties, volunteering at field day and swapping treatment options for lice. Washington Post, "Caught between young kids and a parent with Alzheimer’s, I found a lifeline on the playground," 9 Aug. 2019 More than 315 kids from around the world — in town to compete at the Jr. NBA Global Championship at Disney — spent Thursday volunteering at a Kissimmee homeless shelter before taking to the courts. Kate Santich, orlandosentinel.com, "Jr. NBA championships brings hundreds of young volunteers for homeless shelter," 6 Aug. 2019 To host a collection site or to volunteer at one of the pop-up school supply stores, contact annie@fillaheart4kids.org or mindyabern@fillaheart4kids.org. chicagotribune.com, "Calendar: Learn about beekeeping Tuesday in Lake Forest," 4 Aug. 2019 Back in Shenzhen, both couples agreed to volunteer. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "The untold story of the ‘circle of trust’ behind the world’s first gene-edited babies," 1 Aug. 2019 Call Erin Hebert at 978-454-8982 for information on membership or Crystal Arnott at 978-452-7781 for information on volunteering at the Lowell Humane Society. Maysoon Khan, BostonGlobe.com, "Reading to shelter animals, chamber music, and rock favorites," 25 July 2019 Brazos Bend State Park is currently seeking individuals interested in volunteering at the park. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Brazos Bend State Park seeking volunteers," 22 July 2019 Prime Paw, whose founders got their start volunteering at the nonprofit, could start offering private and group training this year. Melia Russell, SFChronicle.com, "SF’s SPCA is ending dog training, and dog owners and trainers are barking mad," 19 July 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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