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 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 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In total, district seniors were absent or truant 40,469 times last year. Andrew J. Campa, Glendale News-Press, "28% of Glendale Unified high school seniors skipped Fridays last school year," 18 Oct. 2019 Seeing an opening, Harris began sending notices to the families of chronically truant kids. Molly Ball, Time, "Kamala Harris Is Making Her Case. But Can She Stand Out in a Crowded Field?," 3 Oct. 2019 The parents or guardians of truant children could face a $2000 fine or up to one year in jail. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Kamala Harris' Attorney General Record, Explained," 16 Aug. 2019 In May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law that banned jailing truant children. Max Cohen, USA TODAY, "Jail parents over skipping school? Some 2020 Democrats threatened it," 17 July 2019 The proposal highlights an issue that has been a problem for Senator Kamala Harris, who ran a program as a prosecutor in San Francisco that used threats of jail time to pressure parents of truant kids. Christina Prignano,, "Elizabeth Warren releases sweeping plan to overhaul criminal justice system," 20 Aug. 2019 In her 2011 inauguration speech, Harris pointed out that in 2010 there were 600,000 truant students in their elementary schools alone. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Kamala Harris' Attorney General Record, Explained," 16 Aug. 2019 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

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.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on truant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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