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Borrowed from Middle French voluntaire, from Latin voluntārius (willing, voluntary); or from voluntary +‎ -eer.



volunteer (plural volunteers)

  1. One who enters into, or offers for, any service of their own free will, especially when done without pay.
    The volunteers at the nature reserve meet up ever other Sunday to help its upkeep.
  2. (military) 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.
  3. (law) A person who acts out of their own will without a legal obligation, such as a donor.
  4. (botany, agriculture) A plant that grows spontaneously, without being cultivated on purpose; see volunteer plant in Wikipedia.
  5. A native or resident of the American state of Tennessee.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


volunteer (third-person singular simple present volunteers, present participle volunteering, simple past and past participle volunteered)

  1. (intransitive) To enlist oneself as a volunteer.
  2. (transitive, intransitive) To do or offer to do something voluntarily.
    to volunteer for doing the dishes
  3. (transitive) To offer, usually unprompted.
    to volunteer an explanation
  4. (intransitive, botany) To grow without human sowing or intentional cultivation.
  5. (transitive, informal) To offer the services of (someone else) to do something.
    My sister volunteered me to do the dishes.