Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily: an information booth staffed by volunteers; hospital volunteers.
  • n. Law A person who renders aid, performs a service, or assumes an obligation voluntarily.
  • n. Law A person who holds property under a deed made without consideration.
  • n. Botany A cultivated plant growing from self-sown or accidentally dropped seed.
  • adj. Being, consisting of, or done by volunteers: volunteer firefighters; volunteer tutoring.
  • adj. Botany Growing from self-sown or accidentally dropped seed. Used of a cultivated plant or crop.
  • transitive v. To give or offer to give voluntarily: volunteered their services; volunteer to give blood.
  • intransitive v. To perform or offer to perform a service of one's own free will.
  • intransitive v. To do charitable or helpful work without pay: Many retirees volunteer in community service and day care centers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One who enters into, or offers for, any service of his/her own free will, especially when done without pay.
  • n. One who enters into military service voluntarily, but who, when in service, is subject to discipline and regulations like other soldiers; -- opposed to conscript; specifically, a voluntary member of the organized militia of a country as distinguished from the standing army.
  • n. A person who acts out of his own will without a legal obligation, such as a donor.
  • n. A plant that grows in disturbed soil.
  • n. A native or resident of the American state of Tennessee.
  • v. To enlist oneself as a volunteer.
  • v. To do or offer to do something voluntarily.
  • v. To grow without human sowing or intentional cultivation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to a volunteer or volunteers; consisting of volunteers; voluntary
  • n. One who enters into, or offers for, any service of his own free will.
  • n. One who enters into service voluntarily, but who, when in service, is subject to discipline and regulations like other soldiers; -- opposed to conscript; specifically, a voluntary member of the organized militia of a country as distinguished from the standing army.
  • n. A grantee in a voluntary conveyance; one to whom a conveyance is made without valuable consideration; a party, other than a wife or child of the grantor, to whom, or for whose benefit, a voluntary conveyance is made.
  • intransitive v. To enter into, or offer for, any service of one's own free will, without solicitation or compulsion.
  • transitive v. To offer or bestow voluntarily, or without solicitation or compulsion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A person who enters into any service of his own free will.
  • n. A person who enters military service of his own free will, and not by constraint or compulsion; one who offers to serve, and generally receives some consideration or privileges on that account; in the United States, especially during the civil war, a soldier of a body other than the regular army, but practically governed by the same laws when in service.
  • n. In law, one who claims the benefit of a contract or conveyance although no consideration proceeded from him nor from any one in whose place he stands.
  • n. A tree which grows spontaneously: as, that pear-tree in my garden is a volunteer.
  • Entering into military service by free will and choice: as, a volunteer soldier.
  • Composed of volunteers: as, a volunteer corps.
  • To offer, contribute, or bestow voluntarily, or without constraint or compulsion.
  • To enter into any service of one's free will, without constraint or compulsion: as, to volunteer for a campaign
  • n. In horticulture, a plant that comes up of itself from naturally scattered seed, in distinction from one that comes from sowing by the horticulturist.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a person who performs voluntary work
  • adj. without payment
  • v. tell voluntarily
  • n. (military) a person who freely enlists for service
  • v. agree freely
  • v. do volunteer work
  • n. a native or resident of Tennessee

Etymologies

Obsolete French voluntaire, from Old French, voluntary, from Latin voluntārius; see voluntary.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French voluntaire, from Latin voluntarius ("willing, voluntary"); or from voluntary +‎ -eer. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Part of the difficulties seem to stem from the fact that as an army sponsored organization, there are a lot of rules that an FRG needs to adhere to, and frankly, there is no way to hold volunteers accountable, and most will balk at the rediculous restrictions. ok, so I have to fill out how many dozen forms to _volunteer_ my time, including several on a continuing basis every time I do some volunteer work?

    Military Spouses for Creative Solutions - SpouseBUZZ

  • We advise against using the term "volunteer," and some people like the term "pro bono" especially in the legal field, where it is common.

    Kristin Maschka: Resume Advice After a Career Break: An Interview With iRelaunch

  • The term "volunteer" is used loosely; following in the grand tradition of mildly pervy prestidigitators, Wuthergloom/Woolfe has a tendency to select the most attractive, young women in attendance to participate.

    The Globe and Mail - Home RSS feed

  • Alec Allison, London, 06/06/2011 15:18 mickinlondon, I believe the term 'volunteer' signifies that they are not getting paid to work.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • Gary, London, England, 06/06/2011 14:58 mickinlondon, I believe the term 'volunteer' signifies that they are not getting paid to work.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • At the most basic level this means encouraging their education by listening to them read every day. mickinlondon, I believe the term 'volunteer' signifies that they are not getting paid to work.

    Evening Standard - Home

  • I grew up with the word "volunteer" as a very powerful word in my family.

    Avital Binshtock: More Than a Desperate Housewife, Eva Longoria Talks Activism

  • Also in the pot as a volunteer is a yellow wood sorrel, Oxalis stricta, which I leave alone because it's tasty and pretty.

    john dillinger is alive and well and living in--

  • And then we have had many, many of what we call our volunteer chaplains going out to all the different evacuation centers, counseling, caring, comforting, coaching, praying for people.

    CNN Transcript Oct 26, 2007

  • For a short duration, for a project with a goal, a volunteer is the best employee you can get - better than you can hire, and it works.

    Leadership and Success in Sports

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