I'm looking for a word to describe a person or action where out of a group of people, there is a single volunteer to undergo a task or similar.

This is due to the task being somewhat undesirable, and there is only a single person willing to undergo it. For example:

Scipio Africanus ______ to lead the Roman troops against the Carthaginian army in Spain.

  • 1
    "Stuckee" is the common term in many businesses.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 31, 2015 at 12:18
  • They are a volunteer. To my knowledge there is no single word that specifically describes a volunteer that is also the only volunteer. The nearest would be "[they were the] only volunteer"
    – Marv Mills
    Mar 31, 2015 at 12:29
  • 1
    You should give more context. Is the person somehow forced to be volunteer or is it just a personal choice?
    – user66974
    Mar 31, 2015 at 12:58
  • 1
    Not a single word but what about "sole volunteer" or "lone volunteer"?
    – Dan
    Jul 29, 2015 at 14:50
  • In British English, the term 'muggins' is often used for someone who has foolishly taken on much more than their fair share of the work; it's usually used (as self-deprecation) in the first person: "Muggins here has volunteered to put up the tent." It suggests being a willing stooge.
    – JHCL
    Sep 28, 2015 at 14:04

3 Answers 3


sacrificial lamb, if properly phrased, in the reflexive, can express that:

Neotestamentica: Journal of the New Testament Society of ... 2004

The violence and death which he suffered is transformed into a gift to God, and an act of love for his followers. The blood of the Lamb is that of the foundational martyr, of the shepherd who has made himself into a sacrificial lamb for his sheep.


If Bob decides to assume responsibility for something, we can say that bob has taken it upon himself. This isn't exactly the same meaning requested, but it's the closest idiom I can think of.


"He dedicated himself to lead the troops ..."

Definition of "dedication": self-sacrificing devotion

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