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[trohl] /troʊl/
verb (used with object)
to sing or utter in a full, rolling voice.
to sing in the manner of a round or catch.
to fish for or in with a moving line, working the line up or down with a rod, as in fishing for pike, or trailing the line behind a slow-moving boat.
to move (the line or bait) in doing this.
to cause to turn round and round; roll.
Obsolete. to hand around, as a bowl of liquor at table.
Digital Technology, Informal.
  1. to post inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments on (the Internet, especially a message board) for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.
  2. to upset or provoke (other users) by posting such messages or comments.
verb (used without object)
to sing with a full, rolling voice; give forth full, rolling tones.
to be uttered or sounded in such tones.
to fish by trolling.
to roll; turn round and round.
to move nimbly, as the tongue in speaking.
Digital Technology, Informal. to post inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.
a song whose parts are sung in succession; a round.
the act of trolling.
a lure used in trolling for fish.
the fishing line containing the lure and hook for use in trolling.
Digital Technology, Informal. a person who posts inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.
1350-1400; Middle English trollen to roll, stroll < Middle French troller to run here and there < Middle High German trollen walk or run with short steps
Related forms
troller, noun
untrolled, adjective


[trohl] /troʊl/
(in Scandinavian folklore) any of a race of supernatural beings, sometimes conceived as giants and sometimes as dwarfs, inhabiting caves or subterranean dwellings.
Slang. a person who lives or sleeps in a park or under a viaduct or bridge, as a derelict or poor person.
1610-20; < Old Norse troll demon Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for troll
  • Sorry it's after midnight, must be my troll alter ego.
  • Even if a troll is kicked off an online forum, he can often simply sign up again under a different name.
  • The troll squashes an ill-fated automobile in his left hand.
  • You'll have to troll elsewhere to get your book sold.
  • One of our favorite activities is to troll some of the food and restaurant websites and seek our next destination.
  • Kodak doesn't fit our usual picture of a patent troll.
  • But you could reregister under another name that people don't remember the next time you want to start a troll thread.
  • Kate stays cool and teaches the witch and her sidekick troll how to play jacks.
  • Uh, then, gimme tiny humble troll the right to vote in elections over there.
  • In short, you know jack about science and an awful lot about being a troll.
British Dictionary definitions for troll


  1. to draw (a baited line, etc) through the water, often from a boat
  2. to fish (a stretch of water) by trolling
  3. to fish (for) by trolling
to roll or cause to roll
(archaic) to sing (a refrain, chorus, etc) or (of a refrain, etc) to be sung in a loud hearty voice
(intransitive) (Brit, informal) to walk or stroll
(intransitive) (homosexual slang) to stroll around looking for sexual partners; cruise
(intransitive) (computing, slang) to post deliberately inflammatory articles on an internet discussion board
the act or an instance of trolling
(angling) a bait or lure used in trolling, such as a spinner
(computing, slang) a person who submits deliberately inflammatory articles to an internet discussion
Derived Forms
troller, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French troller to run about; related to Middle High German trollen to run with short steps


(in Scandinavian folklore) one of a class of supernatural creatures that dwell in caves or mountains and are depicted either as dwarfs or as giants
Word Origin
C19: from Old Norse: demon; related to Danish trold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for troll

late 14c., "to go about, stroll," later (early 15c.) "roll from side to side, trundle," from Old French troller, a hunting term, "wander, to go in quest of game without purpose," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German trollen "to walk with short steps"), from Proto-Germanic *truzlanan.

Sense of "sing in a full, rolling voice" (first attested 1570s) and that of "fish with a moving line" (c.1600) are both extended technical applications of the general sense of "roll, trundle," the latter perhaps confused with trail or trawl. Figurative sense of "to draw on as with a moving bait, entice, allure" is from 1560s. Meaning "to cruise in search of sexual encounters" is recorded from 1967, originally in homosexual slang.


"ugly dwarf or giant," 1610s, from Old Norse troll "giant, fiend, demon." Some speculate that it originally meant "creature that walks clumsily," and derives from Proto-Germanic *truzlan, from *truzlanan (see troll (v.)). But it seems to have been a general supernatural word, cf. Swedish trolla "to charm, bewitch;" Old Norse trolldomr "witchcraft."

The old sagas tell of the troll-bull, a supernatural being in the form of a bull, as well as boar-trolls. There were troll-maidens, troll-wives, and troll-women; the trollman, a magician or wizard, and the troll-drum, used in Lappish magic rites. The word was popularized in English by 19c. antiquarians, but it has been current in the Shetlands and Orkneys since Viking times. The first record of it is from a court document from the Shetlands, regarding a certain Catherine, who, among other things, was accused of "airt and pairt of witchcraft and sorcerie, in hanting and seeing the Trollis ryse out of the kyrk yeard of Hildiswick."

Originally conceived as a race of giants, they have suffered the same fate as the Celtic Danann and are now regarded in Denmark and Sweden as dwarfs and imps supposed to live in caves or under the ground.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for troll

tripped out

adjective phrase

Having or symptomatic of a psychedelic narcotics experience: a tripped-out laughing jag (1960s+ Narcotics)

Trojan horse

noun phrase

A kind of computer virus: ''Trojan horse'' programing lies in wait to be triggered later, either at a certain day, hour, or minute or when system use or storage reaches a certain level

[1990s+ Computers; fr the wooden horse full of soldiers used by the Greeks to end the siege of Troy]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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troll in Technology

An array language for continuous simulation, econometric modelling or statistical analysis.
["TROLL Reference Manual", D0062, Info Proc Services, MIT (1973-76)].

An electronic mail message, Usenet posting or other (electronic) communication which is intentionally incorrect, but not overtly controversial (compare flame bait), or the act of sending such a message. Trolling aims to elicit an emotional reaction from those with a hair-trigger on the reply key. A really subtle troll makes some people lose their minds.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Article for troll

in early Scandinavian folklore, giant, monstrous being, sometimes possessing magic powers. Hostile to men, trolls lived in castles and haunted the surrounding districts after dark. If exposed to sunlight they burst or turned to stone. In later tales trolls often are man-sized or smaller beings similar to dwarfs and elves. They live in mountains, sometimes steal human maidens, and can transform themselves and prophesy. In the Shetland and Orkney islands, Celtic areas once settled by Scandinavians, trolls are called trows and appear as small malign creatures who dwell in mounds or near the sea. In the plays of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, especially Peer Gynt (1867) and The Master Builder (1892), trolls are used as symbols of destructive instincts. Trolls in modern tales for children often live under bridges, menacing travelers and exacting tasks or tolls.

Learn more about troll with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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