troll

1 of 3

noun (1)

: a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore inhabiting caves or hills

troll

2 of 3

verb

trolled; trolling; trolls

transitive verb

1
a
: to fish for by trolling
b
: to fish by trolling in
troll lakes
c
: to pull through the water in trolling
troll a lure
d
: to search in or at
trolls flea markets for bargains
also : prowl
troll nightclubs
2
a
: to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content
… trolls engage in the most outrageous and offensive behaviors possible—all the better to troll you with.Whitney Phillips
b
: to act as a troll (see troll entry 3 sense 2) on (a forum, site, etc.)
… is also notorious, for trolling message boards on the Internet, posting offensive material he himself has written and then suing anyone who responds in agreement.Mark Hemingway
c
: to harass, criticize, or antagonize (someone) especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts
The switch came after the Chargers became the butt of jokes, memes and derision on social media. The NFL tweeted the initial logo Thursday, but later deleted it as the Chargers even got trolled by other pro and college sports teams over the logo that looked like a cross between baseball's Dodgers and hockey's Lightning.Arnie Stapleton
But [Niki] Caro told The Los Angeles Times this week that there might be music after all. Caro said she got trolled by fans because of the rumor of a lack of music.Herb Scribner
The club has been trolled in a brutal (and somewhat brilliant) manner—by having a giant poster of Tevez scoring his last-day winner plastered outside their Bramall Lane ground.Will Magee
3
: to cause to move round and round : roll
4
a
: to sing the parts of (something, such as a round or catch) in succession
b
: to sing loudly
c
: to celebrate in song

intransitive verb

1
a
: to fish by trailing a lure or baited hook from a moving boat
b
: search, look
trolling for sponsors
also : prowl
2
: to move around : ramble
3
: to sing or play in a jovial manner
4
: to speak rapidly
troller noun
trolling noun

troll

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: a lure or a line with its lure and hook used in trolling
2
: a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content
Internet trolls
In the late 1980s, Internet users adopted the word "troll" to denote someone who intentionally disrupts online communities.Mattathias Schwartz

Examples of troll in a Sentence

Noun (1) "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," is the story of three goats trying to cross a bridge guarded by a nasty troll living beneath it Verb They were trolling the ocean floor. She loves to troll flea markets looking for bargains.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The conflict might be the most newsworthy music event of the first half of 2024, as both MCs voiced strong opinions about each other on the diss tracks, leading to secondary discussions fueled by fan hives, trolls, think pieces, and social media threads. C. Brandon Ogbunu, WIRED, 6 May 2024 Tiffany Haddish opened a fake Instagram account to track down her online trolls and sometimes call them on the phone, the comedian said this week. Zoe G Phillips, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 May 2024 Then the romance becomes public knowledge and internet trolls and tabloid journalists rush in to tear Solène down. Randy Myers, The Mercury News, 1 May 2024 The entrepreneur also called out internet trolls and bullies who try to intimidate her and her family. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 26 Apr. 2024 Kayla Nicole is asking social media trolls to leave her alone after her post on social media was mistaken for a slight against Taylor Swift. Natasha Dye, Peoplemag, 19 Apr. 2024 Zack Fox Zack Fox made a name for himself on social media as a professional troll on X and rapper. Moises Mendez Ii, TIME, 17 Apr. 2024 In recent years, Lynch, Halle Bailey and Yara Shahidi are among the Black actors who have been subjected to racist trolls when they were cast in high-profile roles. Alexandra Del Rosario, Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2024 Some have expressed frustration with scam and troll accounts that buy a blue check, manipulating the system in order to end up at the top of other users’ replies. Clare Duffy, CNN, 4 Apr. 2024
Verb
International law enforcement is trolling the notorious ransomware group Lockbit through the group's own site on the Dark Web, which investigators previously seized back in February. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 6 May 2024 Haddish grabs an apple off the kitchen island, eats it and then clutches the core in her hand for half an hour, rather than throw it out and disrupt her thoughts about getting trolled. Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2024 Now, Timberlake’s bandmate Lance Bass has gotten in on the fun, trolling his longtime pal with his very own TikTok. Shania Russell, EW.com, 1 May 2024 Sometimes my friends are trolling each other — choosing a song that strongly suggests another player selected it, for instance — and that’s pretty fun, too. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, 18 Apr. 2024 The stars of the movie series — which follows the lives and antics of the Barden Bellas, a college a cappella group — are reuniting for their upcoming movie, Bride Hard, and taking the opportunity to troll fans of the franchise. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 13 Apr. 2024 Some of the offline efforts to troll Ms. Haley’s team have prompted a backlash. Ken Bensinger, New York Times, 22 Feb. 2024 Some rogue agents troll online enrollment portals that are accessible only to brokers but are integrated with the HealthCare.gov website. Julie Appleby, NPR, 15 Apr. 2024 Detractors trolled Ureña’s social media accounts, leaving vulgar, sometimes threatening, comments. Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'troll.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Norwegian troll & Danish trold, from Old Norse troll giant, demon; probably akin to Middle High German trolle lout

Verb

Middle English trollen "to roll, rock (the head)," of uncertain origin

Note: Probably ultimately a sound-symbolic verb whose divergent meanings are difficult to reconcile historically, suggesting multiple creations or sources. The earliest meaning was "to roll" in various contexts; perhaps derived from this was "to sing in the manner of a round or catch." The sense "to roam" is possibly attested in the Piers Plowman B text ("And thus hath he [Jesus] trolled forth : this two & thretty wynter"), though the interpretation is uncertain and comparable instances are only known centuries later. This use has conventionally been linked with Middle French treler, traler, treiller "(of hunting dogs) look for prey without a trail or the use of a scent hound," and 16th-century troller "to wander from place to place (originally of a dog)." The sense "to fish by trailing a lure or bait from a moving boat," if not of independent origin, may have been influenced by trail entry 1 and trawl entry 1; also perhaps of relevance is French treuil "winch," though most early uses of troll in this sense do not employ a comparable noun in the meaning "winch" or "reel" (see, for example, Robert Nobbes, The Compleat Troller, or the Art of Trolling, London, 1682). Sense 2, attested from the early 1990's, is probably in part from the fishing sense, in part a derivative of troll entry 3.

Noun (2)

earlier, "the act of trolling" (in various senses), derivative of troll entry 1; sense 2 in part by association with troll entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1616, in the meaning defined above

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Noun (2)

1869, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of troll was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near troll

Cite this Entry

“Troll.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/troll. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

troll

1 of 3 verb
1
a
: to sing the parts of (as a round)
b
: to sing or recite loudly or merrily
2
: to fish for with a hook and line drawn through the water (as behind a slowly moving boat)
3
a
: to harass, criticize, or antagonize (others or another) especially by disparaging, mocking, inflammatory, or offensive public statements, online postings, or acts
b
: to act as a troll (as on a website)
troller noun

troll

2 of 3 noun
1
: a lure or a line with its lure and hook used in trolling
2
: a person who intentionally antagonizes others online by posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content

troll

3 of 3 noun
: a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore living in caves or hills
Etymology

Verb

Middle English trollen "to cause to move round and round"

Noun

from Norwegian troll and Danish trold, both meaning "a giant or dwarf of folklore"

More from Merriam-Webster on troll

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