Definition of involuntarily in English:



  • 1Without will or conscious control.

    ‘she shuddered involuntarily at the memory’
    • ‘We compared brain activity during involuntarily laughing while watching a movie scene to that during faked laughter watching an unfunny scene of the same movie.’
    • ‘The thought of this produces an involuntarily queasy response.’
    • ‘I felt my legs move involuntarily, as though possessed of times past, and a feverish flush tingled in my limbs.’
    • ‘A violent report caused the watchers to flinch involuntarily, and after a second or so of quietness, the pattering of falling fragments was heard.’
    • ‘Everything happens quite involuntarily, as if in a tempestuous outburst of freedom, of absoluteness, of power and divinity.’
    • ‘The right eye of Patient A suddenly rushed back and forwards involuntarily, and he was left with a large translucent object in his central field of vision.’
    • ‘Sensations come to me involuntarily.’
    • ‘Her mouth involuntarily smiles at the infants.’
    • ‘It unsettles the waiter so badly that he involuntarily staggers into the stack and knocks the glasses over.’
    • ‘His study shows that those with high hypochondriacal tendencies were more likely to involuntarily focus on anthrax-related stimuli.’
  • 2Against someone's will; without someone's cooperation.

    ‘Alicia had her husband involuntarily hospitalized’
    • ‘He has been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric clinic by his sister, who believes him to be exhibiting aberrant behavior.’
    • ‘The proportion of involuntarily underemployed persons rose strongly (by more than three percentage points).’
    • ‘It's very different from being cool, but the path out is the same whether you got there voluntarily or involuntarily.’
    • ‘The court must judge whether a choice is so onerous that the parties entered the contract involuntarily.’
    • ‘Under the act, some agricultural quotas will be involuntarily eliminated under a 10-year buyout program.’
    • ‘They may have been hospitalized involuntarily or given treatment services or medications they did not feel were of benefit.’
    • ‘Any loose ends, like surviving victims, are involuntarily "incorporated" into the village.’
    • ‘These unemployed are hardly "involuntarily" out of work.’
    • ‘The man withdrew funds from his IRA and was later involuntarily committed to an alcohol abuse clinic.’
    • ‘In virtually any society, individuals are involuntarily subject to certain risks over which they have little of no control.’