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, "The father of a seventh-grader says his son was warned of possible arrest after missing three Zoom sessions," 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, "What’s on TV Thursday: ‘Big Time Adolescence’ and ‘Feel Good’," 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, "Kamala Harris is skipping Senate votes while running for president — and she’s not the only one," 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, "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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Included here, Paul says, was $37.5 million to help the Philippines deal with truant youths; and $8.6 billion for counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Sen. Rand Paul's ‘Festivus Report’ claims $54B in tax dollars was 'totally wasted'," 23 Dec. 2020 The school makes daily phone calls to absent students and frequent home visits — one week last month, school representatives showed up at the residences of 14 students who were truant or needed help with virtual learning. Washington Post, "This entire second-grade D.C. class fell behind in reading. Now what?," 27 Nov. 2020 Otherwise, your children will be considered truant. Lois K. Solomon,, "If remote teaching ends, here are some options if you want your kids to learn outside the classroom during COVID-19," 6 Nov. 2020 For example, Chicago Public Schools reported more than 20,000 fewer chronically truant students. Jessica Villagomez,, "Is a 96% attendance rate a bright spot in a pandemic stricken school year? Not exactly, as remote learning skews annual report card.," 30 Oct. 2020 Plenty of parents can’t even get their kids to log in: Each month during the spring shutdowns, Education Week asked teachers what share of their kids were truant, and the answers averaged 20–25 percent. Robert Verbruggen, National Review, "Welcome to Virtual Kindergarten," 17 Sep. 2020 In some cases, SAISD has learned of incarcerated students in need of special education while trying to track down seemingly truant special-needs SAISD students and locating them in the jail, Price said. Alia Malik,, "TEA says San Antonio ISD did not provide required special ed at Bexar jail," 29 Aug. 2020 An hour later, when every face was liberally smeared, an emergency call to the truant department was answered by several automobiles. Claire Bugos, Smithsonian Magazine, "Last Week, This Swiss Town Was Briefly Showered in Cocoa Powder," 21 Aug. 2020 This is hardly a surprise, given that nearly a quarter of students were truant and that, even as the spring semester ground to an end, only a fifth of school districts expected teachers to provide real-time instruction. Matthew Rice, National Review, "The Hard Truth about Remote Learning This Fall," 20 Aug. 2020

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

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Time Traveler for truant

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Truant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for truant


How to pronounce truant (audio)

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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