[vol-uh n-teer-iz-uh m]


the policy or practice of volunteering one's time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, especially in one's community.

Origin of volunteerism

First recorded in 1835–45; volunteer + -ism
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for volunteerism

Contemporary Examples of volunteerism

  • But the college never wanted us to view the community service they encouraged as mere charity or volunteerism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hope and Change in the Vatican

    Jon Favreau

    January 4, 2014

  • The gifting, donations, volunteerism and work hours were all weighed evenly.

    The Daily Beast logo
    30 Grinchiest Cities

    The Daily Beast

    December 20, 2010

  • Keep in mind this is the same man who took a brave stance against volunteerism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Beck and Massa's 5 Craziest Moments

    The Daily Beast Video

    March 9, 2010

  • At a presidential forum, he was asked if he saw American exceptionalism through good deeds and volunteerism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Is Obama Apologizing for America?

    Nicolle Wallace

    April 8, 2009

British Dictionary definitions for volunteerism



the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of other people in the community as a social responsibility rather than for any financial reward
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 volunteerism

1844, with reference to armed forces; from volunteer + -ism. In reference to volunteer labor in community activities, by 1977.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper