What does voluntary mean?

Definitions for voluntary
ˈvɒl ənˌtɛr ivol·un·ta·ry

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

Princeton's WordNet

  1. volunteer, military volunteer, voluntarynoun

    (military) a person who freely enlists for service

  2. voluntaryadjective

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

  3. voluntaryadjective

    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. voluntaryadjective

    controlled by individual volition

    "voluntary motions"; "voluntary muscles"


  1. voluntarynoun

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

  2. voluntarynoun

    A volunteer

  3. voluntaryadverb


  4. voluntaryadjective

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

  5. voluntaryadjective

    Working or done without payment.

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

Webster Dictionary

  1. Voluntaryverb

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

  2. Voluntaryverb

    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. Voluntaryverb

    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. Voluntaryverb

    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. Voluntaryverb

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

  6. Voluntaryverb

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

  7. Voluntaryverb

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

  8. Voluntarynoun

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

  9. Voluntarynoun

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

  10. Voluntarynoun

    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.]

Matched Categories

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

How to pronounce voluntary?

How to say voluntary in sign language?


  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

Examples of voluntary in a Sentence

  1. Samuel Adams:

    All Men have a Right to remain in a State of Nature as long as they please: And in case of intolerable Oppression, civil or religious, to leave the Society they belong to and enter into another. When Men enter into Society, it is by voluntary Consent, and they have a Right to demand and insist upon the performance of such Conditions and previous Limitations as form an equitable original Compact.

  2. Conrad Schneider:

    The standards must be legally enforceable, something that, by definition, voluntary programs are not.

  3. Mike Delaney:

    We will closely examine potential impacts to the function and our ability to serve our customers if selective (voluntary layoffs) are employed, we hope to work through our analysis as quickly as possible and share our decision with you in the next several weeks.

  4. Nayib Bukele:

    The quarantine legally ends today at 2400 hours (local time), but we are asking people to stay in voluntary quarantine until Monday, we can't avoid the re-opening.

  5. Sergio Gor:

    He also believes many vaccines should be voluntary and like most medical decisions, between the doctor and the patient, not the government.

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Translations for voluntary

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    a state of acute pain
    • A. fancy
    • B. aspiration
    • C. suffering
    • D. odometer

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