What does voluntary mean?

Definitions for voluntaryˈvɒl ənˌtɛr i

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word voluntary.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. volunteer, military volunteer, voluntary(noun)

    (military) a person who freely enlists for service

  2. voluntary(adj)

    composition (often improvised) for a solo instrument (especially solo organ) and not a regular part of a religious service or musical performance

  3. voluntary(adj)

    of your own free will or design; done by choice; not forced or compelled

    "man is a voluntary agent"; "participation was voluntary"; "voluntary manslaughter"; "voluntary generosity in times of disaster"; "voluntary social workers"; "a voluntary confession"

  4. voluntary(adj)

    controlled by individual volition

    "voluntary motions"; "voluntary muscles"


  1. voluntary(Noun)

    A short piece of music, often having improvisation, played on a solo instrument

  2. voluntary(Noun)

    A volunteer

  3. voluntary(Adverb)


  4. voluntary(Adjective)

    Done, given, or acting of one's own free will.

  5. voluntary(Adjective)

    Working or done without payment.

  6. Origin: From *, from volontaire, from voluntarius, from voluntas, from volens, present participle of velle.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Voluntary(verb)

    proceeding from the will; produced in or by an act of choice

  2. Voluntary(verb)

    unconstrained by the interference of another; unimpelled by the influence of another; not prompted or persuaded by another; done of his or its own accord; spontaneous; acting of one's self, or of itself; free

  3. Voluntary(verb)

    done by design or intention; intentional; purposed; intended; not accidental; as, if a man kills another by lopping a tree, it is not voluntary manslaughter

  4. Voluntary(verb)

    of or pertaining to the will; subject to, or regulated by, the will; as, the voluntary motions of an animal, such as the movements of the leg or arm (in distinction from involuntary motions, such as the movements of the heart); the voluntary muscle fibers, which are the agents in voluntary motion

  5. Voluntary(verb)

    endowed with the power of willing; as, man is a voluntary agent

  6. Voluntary(verb)

    free; without compulsion; according to the will, consent, or agreement, of a party; without consideration; gratuitous; without valuable consideration

  7. Voluntary(verb)

    of or pertaining to voluntaryism; as, a voluntary church, in distinction from an established or state church

  8. Voluntary(noun)

    one who engages in any affair of his own free will; a volunteer

  9. Voluntary(noun)

    a piece played by a musician, often extemporarily, according to his fancy; specifically, an organ solo played before, during, or after divine service

  10. Voluntary(noun)

    one who advocates voluntaryism


  1. Voluntary

    In music a voluntary is a piece of music, usually for organ, that is played as part of a church service. In English-speaking countries, the music played before and after the service is often called a 'voluntary', whether or not it is titled so. The title 'voluntary' was often used by English composers during the late Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods. Originally, the term was used for a piece of organ music that was free in style, and was meant to sound improvised. This probably grew out of the practice of church organists improvising after a service. Later, the voluntary began to develop into a more definite form, though it has never been strictly defined. During the late 17th century, a 'voluntary' was typically written in a fugal or imitative style, often with different sections. In the 18th century the form typically began with a slow movement and then a fugue. Two to four movements were common, with contrasting tempos. In the 18th century England, the word 'voluntary' and 'fuge' were interchangeable. These English style 'fuges' do not follow the strict theoretic form of German-style fugues. They are more related to the 'fugues' written by Italian composers of the time.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Voluntary

    vol′un-ta-ri, adj. willing: acting by choice: free: proceeding from the will: subject to the will: done by design or without compulsion: of or pertaining to voluntaryism.—n. one who does anything of his own free-will: a piece of music played at will: an upholder of voluntaryism.—adv. Vol′untarily.—ns. Vol′untariness; Vol′untaryism, the system of maintaining the Church by voluntary offerings, instead of by the aid of the State, as alone consistent with true religious liberty, involving freedom from State support, patronage, or control; Vol′untaryist.—adj. Vol′untātive, voluntary.—Voluntary school, in England, one of a number of elementary schools supported by voluntary subscriptions, and in many cases controlled by religious bodies. [L. voluntariusvoluntas, choice—volo, velle, to will.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'voluntary' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2748

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'voluntary' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1919

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'voluntary' in Adjectives Frequency: #348


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of voluntary in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of voluntary in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Henry David Thoreau:

    None can be an impartial or wise observer of human life but from the vantage ground of what we should call voluntary poverty.

  2. Larry Broderick:

    It may very well be that the ask for some of these members may be difficult and voluntary redundancy may have to be considered.

  3. Ronald Reagan:

    We seek a constitutional amendment to permit voluntary school prayer. God should never have been expelled from America's classrooms in the first place.

  4. Erich Fromm:

    The history of man is a graveyard of great cultures that came to catastrophic ends because of their incapacity for planned, rational, voluntary reaction to challenge.

  5. Ralph White:

    Even though the sustain rate is lower, the effectiveness rate has stayed the same, which means that agencies are taking voluntary corrective action in response to protests at an even higher level.

Images & Illustrations of voluntary

Translations for voluntary

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for voluntary »


Find a translation for the voluntary definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these voluntary definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"voluntary." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017. <http://www.definitions.net/definition/voluntary>.

Are we missing a good definition for voluntary? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for voluntary:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.