Voluntell, Voluntelling, Voluntold · 25 January 2014

Most husbands have experienced being volunteered for stuff, but I did not realize there was a word for it until my sister said she voluntold her husband to do something.

I am not sure whether voluntold has made it into any of the myriad of dictionaries out there, but it is sure to catch on regardless of whether my sister made it up or not. Who knows? In a few years, it might even make it into the Official Scrabble Dictionary. However, at this point in time, I am just going with the notion that my sister made up the apropos word for all wives to use.

Since it is not yet in the dictionary, I figured I could help it along by defining and giving the tenses of the word. The definition is simple: to volunteer somebody else (usually a husband) to do something. The tenses should be pretty simple too. In reality, voluntold is the past tense of voluntell. (So naturally, there is voluntelling as well.)

Here is a proper (more or less) dictionary entry with definition and tenses (Actually, the present and past tenses would not show up in most dictionaries because they are just normal, but I figured I would put them in anyway.):

VOLUNTELL – v.t. to volunteer another person (usually a husband) to do a job. voluntelling, voluntold.

Unfortunately, voluntell is a sexist word. Women will believe only they have the right to use it. Even so, I can imagine teachers asking students to use the word in a sentence.

      “Sally, use voluntell in a sentence please.”
      “When I get married, I will voluntell my husband to do the dishes every night.”
      “Very good. Now George, use the past tense of voluntell in a sentence.”
      “When I get married, I will get voluntold what to do all the time. Like my dad gets voluntold by my mom all the time.”
      I can almost hear George muttering under his breath as the teacher praises his excellent word usage, “But I won’t like it any more than he does.”

I can even hear years later when George is at his church’s men’s meeting lamenting, “I voluntold my wife to help out at the church bazaar, but apparently only wives can voluntell their husbands and not the other way around.” Of course, all the men would groan and sadly nod in agreement.

While the new word may not have gotten into the lexicons of the English language yet, I am sure husbands around the globe have been voluntold many times to do many things. (You can all groan now.) When being voluntold, most just nod or reply, “Yes, dear.” It is not being passive, it is just part of making a marriage work. (Which may or may not make it into the dictionary definition.)

I do not remember exactly what it was that my sister was voluntelling my brother-in-law to do, but I am sure she did not anticipate me writing about her nifty word. At any rate, I need to end this here before I get into too much trouble. Besides, I think I hear my wife. I need to hide before she reminds me what it is she voluntold me to do.

© 2014 Michael T. Miyoshi

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