I'm looking for a single noun word to describe a person who volunteers often! In the US military we often heap praise among servicemembers who volunteer for tasks often, as the willingness to help others is seen as an admirable trait.

Sample Sentence: That Marine is a gifted marksman, an able leader, and a reliable person who volunteers often.

  • Who's "we"? General staff officers behind the lines? I am given to understand that enlisted personnel learn never to volunteer for anything just after they learn to salute properly. For those folks, the word to describe a person who volunteers often is "combat fatality."
    – deadrat
    Nov 19, 2015 at 3:46
  • A communitarian, perhaps?
    – user3065
    Jan 7, 2016 at 5:07

6 Answers 6


I'm relatively new here so forgive me if I'm wrong but there might not be a suitable term to describe what you are asking for. "Volunteer" is itself a noun and there seems to be no single noun word for someone who is an active volunteer. As for the word "combat fatality",I don't think any such word exists.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Please visit help center and see how it works here. Your answer looks more like a comment than an answer.
    – user140086
    Nov 19, 2015 at 4:56
  • The 'combat fatality' comment is sardonic Aniket - in the armed forces volunteers are sought for dangerous missions.
    – Dan
    Nov 19, 2015 at 9:57

Since you've used an adjective to qualify each of the other traits, I'd suggest just picking an adjective that indicates frequency/eagerness to complement "volunteer". E.g.

an able leader, and a willing volunteer.

Alternatives: eager volunteer, ready volunteer, enthusiastic volunteer, trusty volunteer, reliable volunteer.


No one word denotes the frequency you seek in another word for 'volunteer', although some words suggest or connote it in the context you give with your example.

Among those words are

  • altruist
  • humanitarian
  • philanthropist

I'll rule out 'philanthropist' for your answer because overuse of 'philanthropist' in mass media has cheapened the word by associating it too closely with a 'giver of money' in stead of the truer 'supplier of resources'.

A "reliable altruist" is one who practices altruism frequently:

1. Disinterested or selfless concern for the well-being of others, esp. as a principle of action.

[Emphasis mine. "altruism, n.". OED Online. September 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/5857 (accessed November 19, 2015).]

So also a "reliable humanitarian" is

  1. A person concerned with human welfare as a primary or pre-eminent good; esp. a person who seeks to promote human welfare and advocates action on this basis rather than for pragmatic or strategic reasons; a philanthropist.

[Emphasis mine. "humanitarian, n. and adj.". OED Online. September 2015. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/89276?redirectedFrom=humanitarian (accessed November 19, 2015).]


Obsequious:too eager to help or obey someone important-Merriam-Webster

  • 2
    That has a negative connotation, and the question seems to be requesting a word with a positive connotation. Nov 19, 2015 at 3:31
  • There is also dutiful, duteous, well trained, and well disciplined but I did not think those fit as well because they are not really volunteering
    – SophArch
    Nov 19, 2015 at 3:41
  • We don't answer with a question mark. Your answer looks more like a comment than an answer. If you have any research or reference, please edit it.
    – user140086
    Nov 19, 2015 at 5:58

How about "serial volunteer"?

I know its not a single word but thought it might be useful.

Edit: Serial: repeatedly following the same behavior pattern. Thus a serial volunteer would be someone who volunteers repeatedly, and I'd suggest implying often.

  • 1
    Since you're unsure of it, this can be posted as a comment rather than as an answer. An answer requires more elaboration.
    – Mamta D
    Nov 19, 2015 at 11:26
  • I would advise you to delete this answer. Please visit our help center to see how it works here.
    – user140086
    Nov 19, 2015 at 11:34

zealous comes to mind.

: full of, characterized by, or due to zeal; ardently active, devoted, or diligent. Random House

Alternately, consider eager beaver

: an exceptionally zealous person, one who habitually takes on more tasks or works harder than others. For example, Bill is a real eager beaver, always volunteering to stay late. This expression became especially popular during World War II, applied to recruits anxious to impress their commanding officers by such behavior. [First half of 1900s] The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms

: a person who is extremely zealous about performing duties and volunteering for more M-W

  • I thought about "eager beaver", but chose not to post it. Because it would basically make the sample sentence a joke: That Marine is a gifted marksman, an able leader, and a reliable eager beaver :) The stylistic disconnect is too much, IMO, and so produces a comical effect.
    – A.P.
    Nov 19, 2015 at 16:41
  • I thought "zealous" also has a negative connotation of going too far.
    – SophArch
    Nov 20, 2015 at 1:54

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