What does the idiom "play truant" mean?

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. play truant meaning, in what situations is it used?

Meaning of "play truant"


The idiom 'play truant' is used to describe someone who deliberately skips school or an important event. It implies an intentional act of evasion or avoidance of due responsibility. It is most commonly used in reference to children, but may also apply to adults who are trying to shirk their duties.


The phrase ‘play truant’ originates from England in the 16th century. It is derived from the words ‘truant’, which originally referred to a beggar or vagrant, and ‘truants’, which was the old term used to describe students who avoided attending school. It was first recorded in 1541 by Thomas More in his book ‘Utopia’, in which he described the punishment of students who ‘play truants’.


The idiom ‘play truant’ is used to describe someone who deliberately skips an important event or class, often in order to have more free time. It can also be used to describe someone who avoids facing up to their responsibilities, such as an adult who seeks to avoid work or a person who avoids paying taxes.

Example Sentences

  • The teacher was angry when she noticed some students had been playing truant and skipping classes.
  • Joe was playing truant when he should have been at work and his boss was not pleased.
  • The parents were worried when they discovered their child had been playing truant and missing school.

The meanings of the words in the "play truant" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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