Definition of involuntary in English:


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


  • 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.
    More 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.



Pronunciation: /inˌvälənˈte(ə)rəlē, -ˈvälənˌter-/
More 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.


More 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.

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