voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Definition of voluntary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : proceeding from the will or from one's own choice or consent a voluntary action voluntary cooperation
2 : unconstrained by interference : self-determining a voluntary participant
3 law
a : done by design or intention : intentional was convicted of voluntary manslaughter
b : acting or done of one's own free will without valuable consideration or legal obligation a voluntary conveyance
4 : of, relating to, subject to, or regulated by the will voluntary muscle movements voluntary behavior
5 : having power of free choice a voluntary agent
6 : provided or supported by voluntary action a voluntary institution/organization

voluntary

noun
plural voluntaries

Definition of voluntary (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a prefatory often extemporized musical piece
b : an improvisatory organ piece played before, during, or after a religious service
2 : one who participates voluntarily

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Other Words from voluntary

Adjective

voluntarily adverb
voluntariness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for voluntary

Adjective

voluntary, intentional, deliberate, willing mean done or brought about of one's own will. voluntary implies freedom and spontaneity of choice or action without external compulsion. a voluntary confession intentional stresses an awareness of an end to be achieved. the intentional concealment of vital information deliberate implies full consciousness of the nature of one's act and its consequences. deliberate acts of sabotage willing implies a readiness and eagerness to accede to or anticipate the wishes of another. willing obedience

Examples of voluntary in a Sentence

Adjective Participation in the program is completely voluntary. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter. the voluntary muscles that control urination
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But Apple still didn't drop its proprietary chargers and in 2018, under pressure from members of the European Parliament, Vestager announced an impact assessment into the costs and benefits of moving beyond the voluntary approach to the problem. David Meyer, Fortune, 23 Sep. 2021 In order to incentivize voluntary participation, each calculation had to take into account the unique circumstances of the individual applicant. Kenneth R. Feinberg, The New York Review of Books, 23 Sep. 2021 The request for information, which is voluntary for companies, will be made Thursday as the White House hosts a meeting of semiconductor producers and users. Alex Leary, WSJ, 23 Sep. 2021 Southern California hardly cut its water use after Gov. Gavin Newsom called for a voluntary 15% reduction. Los Angeles Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Assimilation — involuntary and voluntary — took its toll. NBC News, 22 Sep. 2021 The number of permits issued for the Parkview and Burlington lots is lower than in recent years as a result of a 2019 audit and voluntary cancellations during the pandemic, Louden said. Suzanne Baker, chicagotribune.com, 22 Sep. 2021 The Imperial Irrigation District essentially was written out of California's part of the drought plan when Metropolitan pledged to contribute most of the state's voluntary cuts to avoid delays in implementing the plan. Felicia Fonseca, The Arizona Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 Guests of The Loren are invited to make voluntary contributions of 1.5 percent of their hotel bill to match the 1.5 percent Celsius increase in global temperatures. Caroline Tell, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Virginia enacted legislation in 2021 to establish an auto-IRA savings program and the New York state legislature has passed legislation that would amend their law to switch from a voluntary to a mandatory auto-IRA program statewide. Dan Doonan, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 Danario Green was optimistic about returning to work as a JetBlue flight attendant after taking a five-month voluntary leave earlier in the pandemic. Natalie B. Compton, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Nov. 2020 The actual number of layoffs and furloughs may decrease for both American and United before Oct. 1 because of union agreements and other voluntary buyout negotiations, according to company memos. Anna Kramer, SFChronicle.com, 4 Aug. 2020 For players, that means a certain level of accomplishment or desire for a new contract can be reason to skip the voluntaries. Sam Mellinger, kansascity.com, 20 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'voluntary.' 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 voluntary

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for voluntary

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French voluntarie, from Latin voluntarius, from voluntas will, from velle to will, wish — more at will

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Time Traveler for voluntary

Time Traveler

The first known use of voluntary was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near voluntary

voluntarism

voluntary

voluntary affidavit

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Statistics for voluntary

Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Voluntary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/voluntary. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for voluntary

voluntary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of voluntary

: done or given because you want to and not because you are forced to : done or given by choice
: provided or supported by people who do work without being paid
: doing work without being paid

voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Kids Definition of voluntary

1 : done, given, or acting of free choice a voluntary confession a voluntary participant
2 : done or acting with no expectation of payment a voluntary job
3 : relating to or controlled by the will voluntary muscle movements

Other Words from voluntary

voluntarily \ ˌvä-​lən-​ˈter-​ə-​lē \ adverb participate voluntarily

Choose the Right Synonym for voluntary

voluntary, intentional, and deliberate mean done or brought about by choice. voluntary is used of an act that results from freedom of will. Joining the club is voluntary. It can also be used of an act that is controlled by the will. Blinking the eyes can be a voluntary movement. intentional is used of something that is done for a reason and only after some thought. Her neglect of the task was intentional. deliberate is used of an act that is done purposefully and with full understanding of the likely results. It was a deliberate insult.

voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈväl-ən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Medical Definition of voluntary

1 : proceeding from the will or from one's own choice or consent
2 : of, relating to, subject to, or regulated by the will voluntary behavior

Other Words from voluntary

voluntarily adverb

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voluntary

adjective
vol·​un·​tary | \ ˈvä-lən-ˌter-ē How to pronounce voluntary (audio) \

Legal Definition of voluntary

1a : proceeding from one's own free choice or consent rather than as the result of duress, coercion, or deception a voluntary statement
b : not compelled by law : done as a matter of choice or agreement voluntary arbitration
c : made freely and with an understanding of the consequences a voluntary plea of guilty
2 : done by design or intention
3 : made without valuable consideration or for nominal consideration a voluntary conveyance

Other Words from voluntary

voluntarily \ ˌvä-​lən-​ˈter-​ə-​lē \ adverb
voluntariness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on voluntary

Nglish: Translation of voluntary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of voluntary for Arabic Speakers

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