tru·​ant | \ ˈtrü-ənt How to pronounce truant (audio) \

Definition of truant

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: one who shirks duty especially : one who stays out of school without permission



Definition of truant (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : shirking responsibility
2 : being, resembling, or characteristic of a truant


truanted; truanting; truants

Definition of truant (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to idle away time especially while playing truant

Examples of truant in a Sentence


an increasing number of truants

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ten were booked as runaways five as truants and one turned out to be an AWOL Marine from Camp Pendleton. Johnny Miller — Jack Viets, San Francisco Chronicle, "Eat-and-greet on Mayor Alioto’s agenda, 1968," 9 May 2018 In Park Hill School District about 150 students who observed the walkout were marked truant. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, "Independence suspended student who didn't follow rules during gun protest walkout | The Kansas City Star," 20 Mar. 2018 Chon and comedian Daniel So play down-and-out Korean-Americans trying to keep their late dad’s shoe store alive; a delightful Simone Baker is the 11-year-old school truant who helps out in the shop, to the chagrin of her brother (Curtiss Cook. Ty Burr,, "11 movies to stream when the weather is terrible," 15 Mar. 2018 About 150 Park Hill High School students participated, according to junior Ethan Simon, who told The Star that each participant was marked truant. Max Londberg, kansascity, "Students at this KC school were disciplined for honoring Parkland victims with walkout | The Kansas City Star," 14 Mar. 2018 Being tagged a chronic truant – after missing 10 percent or more of the school year – could mean up to a $2,000 fine and jail time for parents or the student. Diana Lambert, sacbee, "Should parents be able to take their kids out of school without getting a truancy letter?," 29 Oct. 2017 Hurt was looking for truants and came upon Montgomery, a 17-year-old skipping school. Adam Geller, The Seattle Times, "Supreme Court rulings reshape penalties for young offenders," 30 July 2017 Getzlaf was joined by Rickard Rakell as five Flames poured out of the bench to replace the truants. Mark Whicker, Orange County Register, "Whicker: Flames’ absence is a present for Ducks," 14 Apr. 2017 When the truant offered a letter from a relative of a government minister pleading for leniency, Mr. Mishra grabbed it and, with a frown, tore it in half and dropped it to the floor. Geeta Anand, New York Times, "Today’s Headlines: Asia Edition," 19 Feb. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The nature of the inquiry is unclear, but the probe is focused on Ballou High School, where allegations were first raised about diplomas wrongly awarded to chronically truant students. Washington Post, "FBI, U.S. Education Department investigating Ballou graduation scandal," 7 Mar. 2018 Under the law, however, parents could still be held criminally liable for their truant children. Sandra Baker, star-telegram, "Law has little impact on Fort Worth students skipping school, but that's a good thing | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 8 May 2018 The police did not initially investigate it as a crime because the teenager was often truant. Sophie Rebmann, Nadine Schmidt And Judith Vonberg, CNN, "Iraqi asylum-seeker wanted over rape, murder of 14-year-old in Germany," 7 June 2018 She was sent to a truant school, but eventually stopped going altogether. Yosha Gunasekera, Marie Claire, "How One Woman's Sexual Abuse Resulted in Years Behind Bars," 11 May 2018 Before the law changed Sept. 1 2015, truant students could be issued a Class C misdemeanor for failing to attend school. Sandra Baker, star-telegram, "Law has little impact on Fort Worth students skipping school, but that's a good thing | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 8 May 2018 San Diego County participation in Friday’s National School Walkout to commemorate the Columbine High School shooting was uneven, which is understandable given some districts said those who left campus would be counted as absent, possibly truant. Michael Smolens,, "No question they're serious, but will the kids vote?," 25 Apr. 2018 According to student tweets, the event became a walk-in so students could still participate during their lunch or study hall periods and not be counted as absent or truant, which would affect their ability to attend prom later in the evening. Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, "Participation declines in latest student-led walkouts at U46 schools," 21 Apr. 2018 In the story, Rich and some friends had played truant one afternoon. Junot Díaz, The New Yorker, "A Flawless Silence," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'truant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of truant


14th century, in the meaning defined above


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1580, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for truant


Middle English, vagabond, idler, from Anglo-French, of Celt origin; akin to Old Irish trógán wretch, trúag wretched

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Dictionary Entries near truant





truant officer



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Time Traveler for truant

The first known use of truant was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of truant

: a student who misses school without permission


tru·​ant | \ ˈtrü-ənt How to pronounce truant (audio) \

Kids Definition of truant

1 : a student who stays out of school without permission
2 : a person who neglects his or her duty

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More from Merriam-Webster on truant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with truant

Spanish Central: Translation of truant

Nglish: Translation of truant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of truant for Arabic Speakers

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