verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)


Origin of troll

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for trolling

Contemporary Examples of trolling

Historical Examples of trolling

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
(intr) British informal to walk or stroll
(intr) homosexual slang to stroll around looking for sexual partners; cruise
(intr) 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 Formstroller, noun

Word Origin for troll

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 for troll

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 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