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From Middle English truant, truand, trewande, trowant (= Middle Dutch trouwant, trawant, truwant), from Old French truand, truant (a vagabond, beggar, rogue", also "beggarly, roguish), of Celtic origin, perhaps from Gaulish *trugan, or from Breton truan (wretched), from Proto-Celtic *térh₁-tro-m, ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *terh₁-.[1]

Cognate with Scottish Gaelic truaghan, Irish trogha (destitute), trogán, Breton truc (beggar), Welsh tru.



truant (not comparable)

  1. Absent without permission, especially from school.
    He didn't graduate because he was chronically truant and didn't have enough attendances to meet the requirement.
  2. Wandering from business or duty; straying; loitering; idle, and shirking duty.
    • 1603+, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2
      A truant disposition, good my lord.
    • 1772, John Trumbull, The Owl and the Sparrow, page 149:
      While truant Jove, in infant pride, / Play'd barefoot on Olympus' side.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314, page 0045:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. [] She put back a truant curl from her forehead where it had sought egress to the world, and looked him full in the face now, drawing a deep breath which caused the round of her bosom to lift the lace at her throat.

Derived terms[edit]



truant (plural truants)

  1. One who is absent without permission, especially from school.

Derived terms[edit]



truant (third-person singular simple present truants, present participle truanting, simple past and past participle truanted)

  1. (intransitive) To play truant.
    the number of schoolchildren known to have truanted
  2. (transitive) To idle away; to waste.
    • Ford
      I dare not be the author / Of truanting the time.
  3. To idle away time.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
    • Lowell
      By this means they lost their time and truanted on the fundamental grounds of saving knowledge.


  1. ^ Roberts, Edward A. (2014) A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Spanish Language with Families of Words based on Indo-European Roots, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN