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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.


  • Rhymes: -ʊənt
  • IPA(key): /ˈtɹʊənt/, /ˈtɹuː.ənt/
  • (file)


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.
    • c. 1599–1602, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
      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.
    • 1697, “The Third Book of the Georgics”, in Virgil; John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 403869432, lines 705-710:
      But where thou seest a single Sheep remain
      In shades aloof, or couch'd upon the Plain;
      Or listlesly to crop the tender Grass;
      Or late to lag behind, with truant pace;
      Revenge the Crime; and take the Traytor's head,
      E're in the faultless Flock the dire Contagion spread.
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis. [], volume 22, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], OCLC 2057953:
      Indeed, calamity is welcome to women if they think it will bring truant affection home again: and if you have reduced your mistress to a crust, depend upon it that she won’t repine, and only take a very little bit of it for herself, provided you will eat the remainder in her company.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314:
      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.
  3. To idle away time.


  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