- 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.
Origin of involuntary
SynonymsSee more synonyms for involuntary on Thesaurus.com
2. instinctive. 3. reflex, uncontrolled.
1, 3. See automatic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for involuntary
I lived somewhere in the middle of the food chain—an involuntary humility, which remains the emotional posture behind reason.What It Takes to Kill a Grizzly Bear
November 23, 2014
Eye movements tracked in this test are involuntary, so they constitute a sound physiological marker of ADHD.How to Tell When a Scientific Study Is Total B.S.
August 22, 2014
And so, in the end, he accepts a plea bargain: involuntary manslaughter, three years in prison.‘Kill Team’: The Documentary the Army Doesn’t Want You to See
July 26, 2014
His indifference to the gossip has always struck me not as a decision so much as an involuntary and organic reaction.The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast
Robert B. Weide
January 27, 2014
On June 5, 2013, Thor Batista was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and slapped with a $450,000 fine.The Brutal Fall of Brazilian Billionaire Eike Batista
June 25, 2013
It was as though the involuntary kiss had lurched him forward into a futurity of misery.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
A kind of net for effecting an involuntary change of environment.The Devil's Dictionary
The parson wrung his hands in an involuntary gesture of appeal.
She gave an involuntary look at the barn, where David was whistling a merry stave.
Again he had to control the involuntary movement of his left arm.The Incomplete Amorist
- carried out without one's conscious wishes; not voluntary; unintentional
- physiol (esp of a movement or muscle) performed or acting without conscious control
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
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- 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.
- 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.