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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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for trolling
  • Except for a mix of items found while traveling and trolling flea markets, the living room is uncluttered.
  • Here, his grandfather taught him to catch mackerel by trolling a little jig and handkerchief.
  • He took a sip of hot coffee and pushed a trolling rig out over the water, then went inside to scramble eggs on his marine stove.
  • Your group is having a problem because the trolling motors you are using cannot run continuously at full speed.
  • Otherwise, it's a special form of concern trolling that no one likes and that does not help.
  • Hatch has spent hours driving through the countryside, trolling for missing specimens sprouting along the road.
  • She gradually caught on that her new pal was trolling for an ally in a decade-long feud with another senior colleague.
  • What is needed is punitive damages for patent trolling.
  • While this intellectual stenography is sometimes effective, it also often will open up a company to patent trolling tactics.
  • Your trolling and search of authoritative position tells me of doubts of yours on what you say.
British Dictionary definitions for trolling


  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 trolling



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 trolling

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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Encyclopedia Article for trolling

method of fishing in which a lure or a bait is pulled behind a boat at varying speeds and depths according to the nature, habitat, and size of the fish being sought. Trolling is practiced in both freshwater and salt water and with all kinds of craft; power boats that carry varied tackle and big-game gear are usually used at sea but may also be used on inland waters, where legal. Trolling permits the fisherman to cover a wide area, making it the method of choice among sport anglers in pursuit of such highly mobile species as walleye and muskellunge (muskie) in large freshwater lakes and rivers. Trolling for sport is usually done at relatively low speeds using strong rods equipped with stout lines and heavy reels. The fisherman sits facing the stern, sometimes in a specially equipped fighting chair. Troll lines are also used by trawler fishermen for commercial catches, principally salmon and tuna.

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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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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