c.1600, "one who offers himself for military service," from M.Fr. voluntaire,
noun use of adj. meaning "voluntary," from L. voluntarius
"voluntary, of one's free will" (see voluntary
). Non-military sense is first recorded 1638. The verb is first recorded 1755, from the noun. Tennessee has been the Volunteer State
since the Mexican War, when a call for 2,800 volunteers brought out 30,000 men.