AskDefine | Define volunteer

Dictionary Definition

volunteer adj : without payment; "the soup kitchen was run primarily by unpaid helpers"; "a volunteer fire department" [syn: unpaid, volunteer(a)]


1 (military) a person who freely enlists for service [syn: military volunteer, voluntary] [ant: draftee]
2 a person who performs voluntary work [syn: unpaid worker]


1 tell voluntarily; "He volunteered the information"
2 agree freely; "She volunteered to drive the old lady home"; "I offered to help with the dishes but the hostess would not hear of it" [syn: offer]
3 do volunteer work

User Contributed Dictionary



From voluntaire (French: volontaire) noun use of adjective meaning voluntary. Adjective is from the noun.



  1. Of or pertaining to a volunteer or volunteers; consisting of volunteers; voluntary
    • volunteer companies
    • volunteer fire brigade
    • volunteer advice
  2. In the context of "Agriculture": Growing spontaneously without being sown.


of or pertaining to volunteers
growing spontaneously
  • Finnish: villi
  • Japanese: 自生の (jisē-no)


  1. One who enters into, or offers for, any service of his own free will, especially when done without pay.
  2. In the context of "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. 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.
  4. In the context of "Law": A person who acts out of his own will without a legal obligation, such as a donor.
  5. In the context of "Agriculture": A volunteer plant.


one who voluntarily offers himself/herself for service
a voluntary soldier
one who acts without legal onbligation
  • Japanese: 志願者 (shigansha)
  • Portuguese: voluntário
a volunteer plant


  1. To enlist oneself as a volunteer.
  2. To do or offer to do something voluntarily.
    • to volunteer for doing the dishes
    • to volunteer an explanation


to enlist oneself as a volunteer
to do or offer to do something voluntarily


Extensive Definition

A volunteer is someone who works for a community or for the benefit of environment primarily because they choose to do so. The word comes from Latin, and can be translated as "will" (as in doing something out of ones own free will). Many serve through a non-profit organization – sometimes referred to as formal volunteering, but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group. A student in Ontario must volunteer if he wants to or not.
By definition, a volunteer worker does not get paid or receive compensation for services rendered other than reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.

Volunteer management

Many organizations (hospitals, food banks, etc.) have a continual need for volunteers. Other high-profile events, such as a marathon, require hundreds or thousands of volunteers for a one-time or annual need. The success of such events has a significant economic impact on the local economy. Thus, there is increasing awareness of the economic importance of volunteers.
This, in turn, has elevated the importance of the volunteer manager for such events, people who formerly may have managed volunteers in addition to other duties but now may be viewed as professionals in the field. This has also increased the need for volunteer management software, e-mail broadcasts, texting and other technological tools, allowing the volunteer manager to register and communicate with large numbers of people who otherwise have no connection to each other.
Volunteering in India An organisation working on various models of volunteering in India matching and working as a voluntary Non Profit


External links

volunteer in Bulgarian: Доброволец
volunteer in Czech: Dobrovolník
volunteer in German: Ehrenamt
volunteer in Modern Greek (1453-): Εθελοντισμός
volunteer in Spanish: Voluntariado
volunteer in French: Bénévolat
volunteer in Korean: 자원봉사자
volunteer in Italian: Volontariato
volunteer in Hebrew: התנדבות
volunteer in Lithuanian: Savanorystė
volunteer in Dutch: Vrijwilliger
volunteer in Japanese: ボランティア
volunteer in Norwegian: Frivillig
volunteer in Polish: Wolontariat
volunteer in Portuguese: Trabalho voluntário
volunteer in Russian: Волонтёр
volunteer in Swedish: Volontär
volunteer in Tamil: தன்னார்வலர்
volunteer in Thai: อาสาสมัคร
volunteer in Turkish: Gönüllü
volunteer in Ukrainian: Волонтер
volunteer in Contenese: 義工
volunteer in Chinese: 志願工作者

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

arbitrary, autonomous, autonomousness, autonomy, come forward, discretional, discretionary, do independently, do voluntarily, elective, free, free will, gratuitous, gratuitousness, independence, independent, need no prodding, nonmandatory, offered, optional, proffered, self-acting, self-action, self-active, self-activity, self-determination, self-determined, self-determining, spontaneity, spontaneous, spontaneousness, step forward, unasked, unbesought, unbidden, uncalled-for, uncoerced, uncompelled, unforced, unforcedness, uninfluenced, uninvited, unpressured, unprompted, unrequested, unrequired, unsolicited, unsought, voluntariness, voluntarism, voluntary, voluntaryism, volunteer militia, volunteer navy, volunteering, willful
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