View synonyms for volunteer


[ vol-uhn-teer ]


  1. a person who voluntarily offers to perform a service or other undertaking.
  2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.
  3. Military. a person who enters the service voluntarily rather than through conscription or draft, especially for special or temporary service rather than as a member of the regular or permanent army.
  4. Law.
    1. a person whose actions are not founded on any legal obligation so to act.
    2. a person who steps into a matter that does not concern them, such as a person who pays the debt of another where they are neither legally nor morally bound to do so and has no interest to protect in making the payment.
  5. Agriculture. Also volunteer plant. a plant that springs up spontaneously, without being seeded, planted, or cultivated by a person:

    We didn't plant any watermelons this year, but look at all the volunteers from last year's crop.

  6. Volunteer. a native or inhabitant of Tennessee (used as a nickname).


  1. of, relating to, or being a person who voluntarily offers to do something:

    a volunteer fireman.

  2. Agriculture. growing without being seeded, planted, or cultivated by a person; springing up spontaneously:

    volunteer tomatoes.

verb (used without object)

  1. to offer oneself for some service or undertaking.
  2. to enter service or enlist voluntarily.

verb (used with object)

  1. to offer (oneself or one's services) for some undertaking or purpose.
  2. to give, bestow, or perform voluntarily:

    to volunteer a song.

  3. to say, tell, or communicate voluntarily:

    to volunteer an explanation.

  4. to promise the services of (someone) without having asked if it is something they actually can or want to do:

    He volunteered me to sand and paint the bottom of the boat, and I don’t have the slightest interest in sanding, painting, or boating.


/ ˌvɒlənˈtɪə /


    1. a person who performs or offers to perform voluntary service
    2. ( as modifier )

      volunteer advice

      a volunteer system

  1. a person who freely undertakes military service, esp temporary or special service
  2. law
    1. a person who does some act or enters into a transaction without being under any legal obligation to do so and without being promised any remuneration for his services
    2. property law a person to whom property is transferred without his giving any valuable consideration in return, as a legatee under a will
    1. a plant that grows from seed that has not been deliberately sown
    2. ( as modifier )

      a volunteer plant


  1. to offer (oneself or one's services) for an undertaking by choice and without request or obligation
  2. tr to perform, give, or communicate voluntarily

    to volunteer help

    to volunteer a speech

  3. intr to enlist voluntarily for military service

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Other Words From

  • pre·vol·un·teer noun verb
  • un·vol·un·teer·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of volunteer1

First recorded in 1590–1600; from French volontaire, from Latin voluntārius voluntary, with -eer for French -aire

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Word History and Origins

Origin of volunteer1

C17: from French volontaire, from Latin voluntārius willing; see voluntary

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Example Sentences

It declined to disclose details about the volunteer’s illness.

From Fortune

Asked if he would have asked Mallott to resign if the lieutenant governor had not volunteered to do so, Walker said he doesn’t know.

Shortly after arriving in the United States, he volunteered to join the Army and went back and fought in Europe.

All that is known officially is that one of the study volunteers went to the hospital after having neurological problems.

Depending on infection rates for the disease, a phase three vaccine trial may involve thousands to tens of thousands of volunteers.

He then went back to his volunteer corps, which had formed when they did not yet have an ambulance.

There is a distinct smell of apples, which are handed out by volunteer workers.

Women do volunteer and women are victims—you have to think in nuanced kind of way.

You can read more about the civilian-volunteer position here.

However, the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation seems to be behind the idea of making their famous supporter a volunteer cop.

Yet there never was lacking a volunteer, either man or woman, to go to that well and obtain the precious water.

There were no more sleepless nights, fearing an attack from the dreaded rebel or the volunteer.

His father, a man of means, was prominent as one of the pioneers in organizing the volunteer army of Great Britain.

On reaching the front the volunteer captain soon found scope for his pencil.

Captain Brasyer brought 130 loyal Sikhs to the column: there were six small guns, and eighteen volunteer cavalry.





voluntary sectorvolunteer army