Origin of volunteer

1590–1600; < French volontaire < Latin voluntārius voluntary, with -eer for French -aire
Related formspre·vol·un·teer, noun, verbun·vol·un·teer·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for volunteered

Contemporary Examples of volunteered

Historical Examples of volunteered

  • Ibrahim the Egyptian, a Roman Catholic, as it seemed, had volunteered to act as dragoman.

  • "There are heaps of new girls," volunteered another who stood by.

  • Nearly thirty of them volunteered their services to execute the order.

    Darius the Great

    Jacob Abbott

  • "She's a peach, too," he volunteered with the genial impudence that characterized him.

    The Pirate of Panama

    William MacLeod Raine

  • He had volunteered as one of the party to try the Hunley after she had suffocated her second crew.

British Dictionary definitions for volunteered



  1. a person who performs or offers to perform voluntary service
  2. (as modifier)a volunteer system; volunteer advice
a person who freely undertakes military service, esp temporary or special service
  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 lawa 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


to offer (oneself or one's services) for an undertaking by choice and without request or obligation
(tr) to perform, give, or communicate voluntarilyto volunteer help; to volunteer a speech
(intr) to enlist voluntarily for military service

Word Origin for volunteer

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



c.1600, "one who offers himself for military service," from Middle French voluntaire, noun use of adj. meaning "voluntary," from Latin voluntarius "voluntary, of one's free will" (see voluntary). Non-military sense is first recorded 1630s. The verb is first recorded 1755, from the noun. Tennessee has been the Volunteer State since the Mexican War, when a call for 2,800 volunteers brought out 30,000 men.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper