involuntary

[ in-vol-uhn-ter-ee ]
/ ɪnˈvɒl ənˌtɛr i /

adjective

not voluntary; independent of one's will; not by one's own choice: an involuntary listener; involuntary servitude.
unintentional; unconscious: an involuntary gesture.
Physiology. acting independently of or done or occurring without volition: involuntary muscles.

Nearby words

  1. invoke,
  2. involucel,
  3. involucrate,
  4. involucre,
  5. involucrum,
  6. involuntary muscle,
  7. involute,
  8. involute gear,
  9. involute teeth,
  10. involuted

Origin of involuntary

From the Late Latin word involuntārius, dating back to 1525–35. See in-3, voluntary

Related formsin·vol·un·tar·i·ly [in-vol-uhn-ter-uh-lee, -vol-uhn-tair-] /ɪnˈvɒl ənˌtɛr ə li, -ˌvɒl ənˈtɛər-/, adverbin·vol·un·tar·i·ness, noun

Synonym study

1, 3. See automatic.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for involuntary


British Dictionary definitions for involuntary

involuntary

/ (ɪnˈvɒləntərɪ, -trɪ) /

adjective

carried out without one's conscious wishes; not voluntary; unintentional
physiol (esp of a movement or muscle) performed or acting without conscious control
Derived Formsinvoluntarily, adverbinvoluntariness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for involuntary

involuntary

adj.

mid-15c., from Late Latin involuntarius "involuntary," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + Latin voluntarius (see voluntary). Related: Involuntarily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for involuntary

involuntary

[ ĭn-vŏlən-tĕr′ē ]

adj.

Not subject to control of the volition.
Acting or done without or against one's will.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for involuntary

involuntary

[ ĭn-vŏlən-tĕr′ē ]

Not under conscious control. Most of the biological processes in animals that are vital to life, such as contraction of the heart, blood flow, breathing, and digestion, are involuntary and controlled by the autonomic nervous system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.