1. A person who performs or offers to perform a service voluntarily: an information booth staffed by volunteers; hospital volunteers.
2. A person who chooses to enter a branch of the military without being drafted or forced to do so by law.
3. Law A person who works without pay or who assumes an obligation to which that person is not a party or in which that person is not otherwise interested.
4. Botany A cultivated plant growing from self-sown or accidentally dropped seed.
1. Being, consisting of, or done by volunteers: volunteer firefighters; volunteer tutoring.
2. Botany Growing from self-sown or accidentally dropped seed. Used of a cultivated plant or crop.
v. vol·un·teered, vol·un·teer·ing, vol·un·teers
1. To give or offer to give voluntarily: volunteered their services; volunteer to give blood.
2. Informal To compel (someone) to do something: We were volunteered to do the dishes.
1. To perform or offer to perform a service of one's own free will.
2. To choose to enter military service of one's own free will.
3. To do charitable or helpful work without pay: Many retirees volunteer in community service and day care centers.
[Obsolete French voluntaire, from Old French, voluntary, from Latin voluntārius; see VOLUNTARY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.