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 formstru·ant·ly, adverbnon·tru·ant, noun, adjectiveun·tru·ant, adjective

Synonyms for truant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for truant

Historical Examples of truant

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for truant



a person who is absent without leave, esp from school


being or relating to a truant


(intr) to play truant
Derived Formstruancy, noun

Word Origin for truant

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

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