Which word/phrase would you use to mean not attending school?​ ​

If you aren’t attending school today, you might confess to skiving, as 47% of our respondents described it. The second most popular answer we received, with a prevalence in London, was bunking. People are still playing hookey in various pockets of England, while in the West Country if they aren’t skiving, they may well be mitching.

A whole host of other terms used around the country were also contributed by respondents. In Manchester, you might be caught wagging, whereas you’d be accused of sagging in Liverpool. In North Lincolnshire and the East Riding, you may be found twagging, but are less likely to be laiking twag, as this term seems to be on the decline in the area. Further up the country, in Middlesbrough, you may confess to nicking, or playing the nick in neighbouring Durham

The phrase playing truant doesn’t show strong regional patterns and is noticeably on the decline in general. This is demonstrated by the fact it is the most popular term amongst the 85 and over group, but no speakers under 11 shared this phrase. By contrast, skipping school appears to have grown in popularity over time, and is now  the most commonly used phrase by under 11s.

This bar graph animation shows how the use of these words has changed over time.

Interactive words map

Click this button to view the different responses to this question on a map.

You can tick the boxes on the side to select a word and show the places the word was used by the people who completed The Great Big Dialect Hunt. This map is based on where people grew up, not where they live now.