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See more synonyms for troll on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to sing or utter in a full, rolling voice.
  2. to sing in the manner of a round or catch.
  3. 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.
  4. to move (the line or bait) in doing this.
  5. to cause to turn round and round; roll.
  6. Obsolete. to hand around, as a bowl of liquor at table.
  7. 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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to sing with a full, rolling voice; give forth full, rolling tones.
  2. to be uttered or sounded in such tones.
  3. to fish by trolling.
  4. to roll; turn round and round.
  5. to move nimbly, as the tongue in speaking.
  6. Digital Technology. Informal. to post inflammatory or inappropriate messages or comments online for the purpose of upsetting other users and provoking a response.
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  1. a song whose parts are sung in succession; a round.
  2. the act of trolling.
  3. a lure used in trolling for fish.
  4. the fishing line containing the lure and hook for use in trolling.
  5. 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.
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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 formstroll·er, nounun·trolled, adjective
Can be confusedtrawl troll


  1. (in Scandinavian folklore) any of a race of supernatural beings, sometimes conceived as giants and sometimes as dwarfs, inhabiting caves or subterranean dwellings.
  2. Slang. a person who lives or sleeps in a park or under a viaduct or bridge, as a derelict or poor person.
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Origin of troll2

First recorded in 1610–20, troll is from the Old Norse word troll demon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for troll

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Here is Arnold of Sowley will troll as good a stave as any man in the Company.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • If indeed there was a troll here, and not some harmless fisherman.

    The Valor of Cappen Varra

    Poul William Anderson

  • "Can and will, my girl," said the troll, picking up a bone to throw at her.

    The Valor of Cappen Varra

    Poul William Anderson

  • The troll came back from a tunnel after he finished, and said curtly: "This way."

    The Valor of Cappen Varra

    Poul William Anderson

  • One breath of fear, one moment's doubt, and the troll is free to rend ye.

    The Valor of Cappen Varra

    Poul William Anderson

British Dictionary definitions for troll


  1. angling
    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
  2. to roll or cause to roll
  3. archaic to sing (a refrain, chorus, etc) or (of a refrain, etc) to be sung in a loud hearty voice
  4. (intr) British informal to walk or stroll
  5. (intr) homosexual slang to stroll around looking for sexual partners; cruise
  6. (intr) computing slang to post deliberately inflammatory articles on an internet discussion board
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  1. the act or an instance of trolling
  2. angling a bait or lure used in trolling, such as a spinner
  3. computing slang a person who submits deliberately inflammatory articles to an internet discussion
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Derived Formstroller, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French troller to run about; related to Middle High German trollen to run with short steps


  1. (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
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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

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.

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"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper