synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of voluntary in English

English Online Dictionary. What means voluntary‎? What does voluntary mean?



From Middle English *voluntarie, from Old French volontaire, from Latin voluntārius (willing, of free will), from voluntās (will, choice, desire), from volēns, present participle of volo (to will). Displaced native Old English selfwille (literally self-willed).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈvɒl.ən.tɹi/
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ˈvɑ.lənˌtɛɹ.i/
  • (Ghana) IPA(key): /vo.ˈlɔn.t̠ɹ̠̊ɹ̩.ri/, IPA(key): /ˌvo.lɔn.ˈtɛ.ri/
  • Hyphenation: vol‧un‧ta‧ry


voluntary (comparative more voluntary, superlative most voluntary)

  1. Done, given, or acting of one's own free will.
    • September 10, 1828, Nathaniel William Taylor, Sermon delivered in the Chapel of Yale College
      That sin or guilt pertains exclusively to voluntary action is the true principle of orthodoxy.
  2. Done by design or intention; intentional.
    If a man accidentally kills another by lopping a tree, it is not voluntary manslaughter.
  3. Working or done without payment.
  4. Endowed with the power of willing.
  5. Of or relating to voluntarism.
    a voluntary church, in distinction from an established or state church


  • (acting of one's own free will): discretionary, optional, volitional; See also Thesaurus:optional
  • (done by design or intention): intentional, willful, see Thesaurus:intentional
  • (done without payment): honorary, pro bono, unpaid, unsalaried, unwaged
  • (endowed with the power of willing): autonomous, spontaneous


  • (antonym(s) of all): involuntary
  • (antonym(s) of acting of one's own free will): compulsory, obligatory; See also Thesaurus:compulsory
  • (antonym(s) of done by design or intention): accidental
  • (antonym(s) of done without payment): paid, salaried

Derived terms

Related terms

  • voluntarism
  • voluntarist



voluntary (comparative more voluntary, superlative most voluntary)

  1. (obsolete) Voluntarily.


voluntary (plural voluntaries)

  1. (music) A short piece of music, often having improvisation, played on a solo instrument.
  2. A volunteer.
  3. A supporter of voluntarism; a voluntarist.

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.