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

Noun an increasing number of truants
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And under California law, the letter reads, that means his son is considered a truant. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, 22 Oct. 2020 The film follows Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), a 12-year-old truant causing trouble on the streets of Paris. Gabe Cohn, New York Times, 19 Mar. 2020 In the House of Representatives, East Bay Rep. Eric Swalwell was the top truant of the presidential contenders, missing 39.7 percent of votes this year. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, 18 Aug. 2019 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, 9 May 2018 In Park Hill School District about 150 students who observed the walkout were marked truant. Mará Rose Williams, kansascity, 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,, 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, 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, 29 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Another law, dating to 2019, directly bans schools from reporting truant students to authorities so the students can be ticketed. Jennifer Smith Richards, Chicago Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 Another state law prohibits schools from notifying police when students are truant so officers can ticket them. Jennifer Smith Richards, ProPublica, 28 Apr. 2022 According to the presentation, failure to serve detention, being tardy or truant were the main reasons high school students were served in-school suspensions. Rafael Guerrero,, 25 Feb. 2022 Claire is honest and lacerating about the pull of prestige, especially for a woman whose coming of age entailed truant punks knocking each other’s teeth out with baseball bats. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 2021 Older students kept home could be found truant and forced to surrender their placements., 12 Oct. 2021 Officers responded to a residence Sept. 13 for a report of three youths who were truant from the city schools. cleveland, 26 Sep. 2021 This inspires the once apathetic student body — in particular the chronically truant Abbi (Kaitlyn Dever) — to hit the books in the hope of making Jesse pay up. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 14 Sep. 2021 Notoriously, Harris crafted policies to criminally prosecute parents of truant children while district attorney of San Francisco, and then expanded the practice throughout the state when she was elected attorney general. Piper Kerman, Washington Post, 22 July 2021 See More

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.

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 Celtic origin; akin to Old Irish trógán wretch, trúag wretched

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

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Dictionary Entries Near truant



truant officer

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Cite this Entry

“Truant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for truant


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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