Definition of truant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtro͞oənt/


A student who stays away from school without leave or explanation.
Example sentences
  • Known truants were staying in school and had been deterred from leaving school grounds.
  • The school collaborates with a charity to inspire and re-engage underachieving pupils and chronic truants.
  • But she wonders if ministers quite understand the real world when she hears ideas such as head teachers' issuing fixed penalty notice fines to truants ' parents.
absentee, runaway


1(Of a student) being a truant: truant children
More example sentences
  • He sounded like the school headmaster quietly but firmly dressing down a truant pupil.
  • Having been a truant pupil himself, Mark was keen to ensure that they did not follow in his footsteps, although they were rarely excused from helping him with his own projects.
  • Under the scheme, truant pupils are identified and the welfare service tries to help them.
1.1Wandering; straying: her truant husband
More example sentences
  • Two grown daughters in the family join the truant male whenever the old man launches into story.
  • Here are the other truant titans, along with their stated reasons for missing the premier IFBB contest.
  • There the boy is captured by Jack's colleagues, who have been commanded by the Lord to kill their truant captain.


[no object]
another way of saying play truant below.
Example sentences
  • In North Yorkshire, the figures were a little better with 17 children found truanting, eight of whom were with an adult.
  • A young person can end up facing a children's panel - or ‘hearing’ - for criminal activity, truanting, running away from home or equally because they are at risk from physical abuse or neglect.
  • Boys who had been truanting and priding themselves on being cheeky and ‘hard ‘turned out to be brilliant at woodwork.


play truant

Stay away from school or work without permission or explanation; play hooky.
Example sentences
  • This showed that there were 1.1 million pupils who had played truant in the course of the last school year - up from 0.96 million five years before.
  • She often plays truant and stays home, where she is happiest working with Pa in his machine shop in the yard.
  • When I first started there were a number of pupils outside of lessons playing truant.
stay away from school
informal skip school, skip, play hooky
book out


Middle English (denoting a person begging through choice rather than necessity): from Old French, probably ultimately of Celtic origin; compare with Welsh truan, Scottish Gaelic truaghan 'wretched'.

  • In the 13th century a truant was someone who begged out of choice rather than necessity, what the Elizabethans called ‘a sturdy beggar’. The idea of voluntary idleness led to its application in the later medieval period to children staying away from school without permission. The word came from Old French, but is probably ultimately of Celtic origin, related to Welsh truan and Scottish Gaelic truaghan ‘wretched’.

Words that rhyme with truant

fluent, pursuant

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tru·ant

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