AskDefine | Define truant

Dictionary Definition

truant adj : absent without permission; "truant schoolboys"; "the soldier was AWOL for almost a week" [syn: awol]


1 one who is absent from school without permission [syn: hooky player]
2 someone who shirks duty [syn: no-show, nonattender]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Describing one who is truant, 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.


Describing one who is truant, absent without permission


truant (Plural: truants)
  1. One who is absent without permission, especially from school.


One who is absent without permission

Derived terms

  • play truant
  • truant officer
    An official responsible for investigating people who may be truant and compelling their attendance.
    The truant officer called at the home to see why the student hadn't arrived.

Extensive Definition

Truancy (also known as wagging and/or jigging in Australia and Canada; (playing) hookey, ditching, pipping off, skipping or cutting class in the United States; mitching England; bunking class in India. It can also be called ducking) is a term used to describe any intentional unauthorized absence from compulsory schooling. The term typically refers to absences caused by students of their own free will, and usually does not refer to legitimate "excused" absences, such as ones related to a medical condition. The exact meaning of the term itself is subject to differ from school to school, and is usually explicitly defined in the school's handbook of policies and procedures. Truancy is the term referring to an absence associated with the most brazen student irresponsibility and results in the greatest consequences.
It may also refer to students who attend school but do not go to classes.
Beyond the effect that missed schooling may have on a student's educational attainment, truancy may indicate more deeply embedded problems with the student, the education system, or both. Truancy is commonly associated with juvenile delinquency. In some schools, truancy may result in an ineligibility to graduate or to receive credit for class attended, until the time lost to truancy is made up through a combination of detention, fines, or summer school.
Several studies indicate a high correlation between chronic truancy and poverty. Truancy may also be prevalent in dysfunctional families or among children placed in the care of local authorities.
Truancy is a frequent subject of popular culture; perhaps most famously Ferris Bueller's Day Off, which is entirely about the titular character's (played by Matthew Broderick) day of truancy in Chicago with his girlfriend and best friend. Truancy is also the title of a 2008 novel about a student uprising against a dictatorial educational system.

Dealing with truancy

In the United Kingdom, a police officer who suspects a child of the correct age to be deliberately missing school for no legitimate reason has the power to take that child to the school he or she is supposed to attend.
In the United States, many states provide for the appointment of local truancy officers who have the power to arrest habitually truant youths and bring them to their parents or to the school they are supposed to attend. It is an office which, where it exists, is often held by a person also a constable or sheriff. However, the position of a full-time truancy officer is generally viewed as being a relic from the 19th century when mandatory school attendance was relatively new. Truancy regulations today are generally enforced by school officials under the context of parental responsibility.
In Germany the parents of children absent from school without letigimate excuse are notified by the school. If parents refuse to send their children to school or are unable to control their children, local child services or social services officers may request the police to escort children to school, and in extreme cases can petition a court to partially or completely remove child custody from the parents. Parents may also be fined in cases of refusal.


truant in German: Schulverweigerung
truant in Esperanto: Lernej-evitado
truant in Dutch: Spijbelen
truant in Polish: Wagary
truant in Swedish: Skolk

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

AWOL, Bowery bum, absent, absent without leave, absentee, beachcomber, beggar, beggarly fellow, blighter, budmash, bum, bummer, caitiff, clock watcher, delinquent, derelict, devil, dodger, drifter, drunkard, eye-servant, goldbrick, goldbricker, good-for-naught, good-for-nothing, hobo, human wreck, idler, loafer, loafing, lowlife, malingerer, malingering, mauvais sujet, mean wretch, mucker, no-good, old soldier, pauvre diable, pilgarlic, poor creature, poor devil, runaway, sad case, sad sack, shirk, shirker, shirking, skid-row bum, skulk, skulker, slacker, soldier, stiff, sundowner, swagman, tax dodger, tramp, vag, vagabond, vagrant, vaurien, wastrel, welsher, worthless fellow, wretch
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