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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.
Origin of troll1
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
Can be confused
trawl, troll. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for trolling
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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

troll 1


A stupid person; a dullard

[1970s+ Army; probably fr the dwarf or demon of Norse mythology]

troll 2


  1. To go about looking for sexual encounters; cruise: Women who are out trolling bars do not deserve the protection of the law (1967+)
  2. To seek respondents on the Internet; surf: The firm was trolling for green card applicants in need of legal help (1990s+ Computers)

[fr the action of fishing by trolling]

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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