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[troo-uh nt] /ˈtru ənt/
a student who stays away from school without permission.
a person who shirks or neglects his or her duty.
absent from school without permission.
neglectful of duty or responsibility; idle.
of, relating to, or characteristic of a truant.
verb (used without object)
to be truant.
Origin of truant
1250-1300; Middle English < Old French: vagrant, beggar < Celtic; compare Welsh truan wretched, wretch
Related forms
truantly, adverb
nontruant, noun, adjective
untruant, adjective
2. idler, shirker, layabout, loafer, malingerer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for truant
Historical Examples
  • A truant one, I fear, though you may have been born in London itself.

    Homeward Bound James Fenimore Cooper
  • I should like to inquire how his son, my truant protege', is going on.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • Who shall say but the dove sigheth already for her truant mate?

    Sir Ludar Talbot Baines Reed
  • At that the truant driver appeared, coming at a trot from down the street.

    From Place to Place

    Irvin S. Cobb
  • I could see my mother looking from the window for her truant child.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • "It should have opened and imprisoned you, as a truant dryad," said he.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • I only proposed to send a truant damsel to the Convent to repent of MY faults, that was all!

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • He was a man grown, not a truant child to be led away by the ear for punishment.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • But that, in her delight at recovering her truant, Martin did not notice.


    Mary Louisa Stewart Molesworth
  • "Allow me to return your truant hat, Miss Patterdale," said Laud.

    The Yacht Club Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for truant


a person who is absent without leave, esp from school
being or relating to a truant
(intransitive) to play truant
Derived Forms
truancy, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French: vagabond, probably of Celtic origin; compare Welsh truan miserable, Old Irish trōg wretched
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for truant

early 13c., "beggar, vagabond," from Old French truant "beggar, rogue" (12c.), from Gaulish *trougant- (cf. Breton *truan, later truant "vagabond," Welsh truan "wretch," Gaelic truaghan "wretched"). Cf. Spanish truhan "buffoon," from same source. Meaning "one who wanders from an appointed place" is first attested mid-15c. The adjective is recorded from 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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