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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 themselves 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), as opposed to a conscript.
  3. (military) A voluntary member of the organized militia of a country, as distinguished from a regular or member of the standing army.
    • 2007 April 30, Edward M. Coffman, The Regulars: The American Army, 1898-1941, Harvard University Press, →ISBN, page 16:
      That summer and fall the Army organized twenty-five regiments of volunteers, including two black regiments, which would have all-black captains and lieutenants. All officers were to be selected from regulars and volunteers who had distinguished themselves []
  4. (law) A person who acts out of their own will without a legal obligation, such as a donor.
  5. (botany, agriculture) A plant that grows spontaneously, without being cultivated on purpose; see volunteer plant in Wikipedia.
  6. A native or resident of the American state of Tennessee.

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. 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
    • 2010, BioWare, Mass Effect 2 (Science Fiction), Redwood City: Electronic Arts, →OCLC, PC, scene: Normandy SR-2:
      Miranda: No good. Both routes are blocked. See these doors? The only way past is to get someone to open them from the other side.
      Shepard: It's not a fortress; there's got to be something. Here, maybe we can send someone in through this ventilation shaft.
      Jacob: Practically a suicide mission. I volunteer.
      Miranda: I appreciate the thought, Jacob, but you couldn't shut down the security systems in time. We need to send a tech expert.
  3. (transitive) To offer, usually unprompted.
    to volunteer an explanation
  4. (transitive, informal) To offer the services of (someone else) to do something.
    My sister volunteered me to do the dishes.
  5. (intransitive, botany) To grow without human sowing or intentional cultivation.

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