Share this entry

Share this page

involuntary

Syllabification: in·vol·un·tar·y
Pronunciation: /inˈvälənˌterē
 
/

Definition of involuntary in English:

adjective

1Done without will or conscious control: she gave an involuntary shudder
More example sentences
  • You may find him strident, irritating or humourless, but fact of the matter is the involuntary shudder running up your back after that line is real enough.
  • I went off into a day punctuated by involuntary shudders of revulsion as the sensations were recalled.
  • Thus I utter an involuntary shudder at every routinely odd noise that the computer makes.
1.1(Especially of muscles or nerves) concerned in bodily processes that are not under the control of the will.
Example sentences
  • This smooth muscle is the involuntary sphincter of the posterior urethra in the male.
  • The contractile activity of involuntary muscle is normally regulated by the autonomic (sympathetic and parasympathetic) nervous system.
  • The involuntary muscles are controlled by structures deep within the brain and the upper part of the spinal cord called the brain stem.
2Done against someone’s will; compulsory: a policy of involuntary repatriation
More example sentences
  • The Iranian government, until now, has refused to accept their return as part of a general policy of resisting involuntary repatriations.
  • It is an important matter if more people are requiring involuntary admission.
  • In order to cure an epidemic there must be involuntary, mandatory and humane treatment of people who are engaged in abuse.

Derivatives

involuntarily

1
Pronunciation: /inˌvälənˈte(ə)rəlē, -ˈvälənˌter-/
adverb
Example sentences
  • For the next four days I involuntarily ducked whenever I heard one of those damn birds.
  • I was angry, bitter, upset, my stomach was tense, and my fingernails were involuntarily digging into my palms.
  • She sees me flinch involuntarily at the sound of Bertolt's name.

involuntariness

2
noun
Example sentences
  • He stated that the Stanford scales were lacking because they did not directly measure the involuntariness of a subject's behavioral responses during the routine scale administration.
  • Sexual orientation's involuntariness, which is largely beyond dispute, is separate from its origin, which is still controversial, even among sympathetic scientists.
  • The Crown, of course, can negative involuntariness, prove that it was a willed act, without establishing that there was in fact an intention to kill, without proving murder.

Definition of involuntary in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtɛnɪbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure