What is a word (a verb) for the opposite of attend (to a class, to a conference...)?

Unattend? Disattend?

If there is not such a word, then maybe not attending could be OK...


The context for my question is the text for the evaluation rules within an official document containing the description and syllabus of a university course/subject. More precisely, I want to express this sentence:

Only those students attending at least 75% of the lab sessions will be qualified to take the lab exam.

in another way, starting

Only those students unjustifiedly not attending at most 25% of the lab sessions [...]

The point is the word "unjustifiedly". If you attended only 50% of lab sessions but you justifiedly skiped 25% of the lab sessions (you were ill or whatever), then you do meet the condition to take the lab exam (because the final percentage of unjustified absences is equal to 25%). That is why it is easier to put the sentence in the second way, with "not attending" (or maybe "skipping", that would be a good one...).

I thank the people who told me to look it up in a thesaurus, but I already did it and I did not found the perfect match for my context. That is why I decided to ask this question in this site. Sadly, I have -2 points at this moment. :/

  • Can you provide an example of how this word would be used in a sentence? – choster Jul 23 '15 at 15:54
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    What would the opposite of attend in the context of a class or conference even be? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 23 '15 at 15:56
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    Well, you wouldn't have -2 if you had provided more context in the first place. Can you at least see why I thought only "absent" fitted? We don't know who you are, if you're a native speaker, or someone who has studied English for six months. Anyway, +1 for making the question more interesting. – Mari-Lou A Jul 23 '15 at 17:41
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    We usually see "...those who fail to attend..." or "... unexcused absences...." – TRomano Jul 23 '15 at 20:12
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    I should know the answer, but I think I skipped class when that was being discussed. – Hot Licks Jul 24 '15 at 0:01

There is no antonym for attend, because there are so many possible ways, and reasons, not to attend. It is not usually wise to assume that any word has a one-word antonym, for just this reasson.

Your edited question, though, is more reasonable: missing (a class) without justification could be shortened to skipping. I would, however, call this slightly too informal for an official university document, and think you would be better off spelling out 'missing 25% of lab sessions without good reason'.

  • Thank you very much for suggesting 'missing'. This is the solution I like the most, for now. And about "without good reason", could it be better expressed as "without valid reason", in this formal context? – Vicent Jul 23 '15 at 17:47

Is the non-attendance of a delinquent nature, not merely a matter of choice? If so, you can say "cut", specially for classes. Not so much for a conference. Perhaps "skip" or "dodge" would do (at least in casual English). I doubt there is a single word for not attending where there is no expectation on you. Verbs don't necessarily have antonyms. "Do, or do not . . "

  • Also, informally, it could be called ditching class. – Dan Jul 23 '15 at 23:43

@TimLymington has some good suggestions, but based on your example, I would suggest breaking it up into two clauses.

  • Students who fail to attend 50% or more of lab sessions will be ineligible to take the final. 25% of sessions may be missed for reasons out of your control (illness, etc.).

If you have eight sessions, I think this is clear a student who misses five, but was sick for two, is still eligible to take the final exam.

However, that's a lot of labs to miss. Most of my labs have been you can miss one, and extenuating circumstances are discussed individually.


If you were supposed to attend the event then the noun/adjective/verb could be (Collins)



a person who is absent without leave, esp from school


being or relating to a truant

verb (intransitive)

to play truant

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    +1. Jargon has the acronym AWOL for "Absent without leave". Though it comes from military origins (wikipedia says many English speaking militaries use the term), this is well understood by most Am. Eng. speakers in my experience to be used in a non-military context, especially a semi-formal hierarchical environment like school. – Patrick M Jul 23 '15 at 22:16
  • +1 on comment. I thought of awol, but hesitated at using it as a verb ,an adjective and a noun: "He was awol" is ok but "I awoled school yesterday ?"; " He's a school awol(er)?". – P. O. Jul 24 '15 at 11:55

Despite the invite, I forwent my ex's wedding. The newspaper report I later read on the bar-fight at the reception validated my decision to forgo the whole sordid affair. I hope the couple is as happy without those teeth as they would have been with them. The two certainly deserve each other. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/forwent


This question can be easily answered by a thesaurus.

Here: hide, be absent, disregard, ignore, neglect, be lazy

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    A thesaurus alone isn't very useful. You minimally need some sort of dictionary and preferably somebody's life experience, such as your own, to use one optimally. I certainly would not use "be lazy" and I think whatever sorting algorithm was used misses the mark because the top recommendation, "hide" implies some sort of ulterior motive. Some of the others better fit the context though. – Tonepoet Jul 23 '15 at 16:27

The opposite of Attend is to Miss or Absent.

The word Absent can be used as a verb.


The word when I was a student is "unexcused." So you would inform your students that if they have more than 25% unexcused absenses, they are ineligible to take the exam.

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