from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To fish for by trailing a baited line from behind a slowly moving boat.
  • intransitive verb To fish in by trailing a baited line.
  • intransitive verb To trail (a baited line) in fishing.
  • intransitive verb To move around in (an area) or go to (different places) searching for something.
  • intransitive verb To examine or search through.
  • intransitive verb To sing in succession the parts of (a round, for example).
  • intransitive verb To sing heartily.
  • intransitive verb To post inflammatory or irrelevant material on (an electronic forum) to provoke responses.
  • intransitive verb To fish by trailing a line, as from a moving boat.
  • intransitive verb To stroll along or wander.
  • intransitive verb To move around in an area or go to different places searching for something.
  • intransitive verb To examine or search through something.
  • intransitive verb Music To sing heartily or gaily.
  • noun The act of trolling for fish.
  • noun A lure, such as a spoon or spinner, that is used for trolling.
  • noun Music A vocal composition in successive parts; a round.
  • noun A person who posts inflammatory or otherwise unwanted material on an electronic forum, especially anonymously.
  • noun The material so posted.
  • noun A supernatural creature of Scandinavian folklore, variously portrayed as a friendly or mischievous dwarf or as a giant, that lives in caves, in the hills, or under bridges.
  • noun Derogatory A person, especially an older gay man, considered to be unpleasant or ugly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A going or moving round; roll; routine; repetition.
  • noun A song the parts of which are sung in succession; a round.
  • noun A reel on a fishing-rod.
  • noun Same as trolley, 1.
  • noun An artificial lure used in trolling.
  • noun Any long unshapely thing that trails on the ground; any long thing.
  • noun In Northern myth., a supernatural being, in old Icelandic literature represented as a kind of giant, but in modern Scandinavia regarded as of diminutive size and inhabiting a fine dwelling in the interior of some hill or mound, answering in some respects to the brownie of Scotland.
  • To roll; turn round.
  • To circulate; pass or send round, as a vessel of liquor at table.
  • To sing in the manner of a catch or round; also, to sing in a full, jovial voice.
  • To angle or fish for; especially, to angle for in a particular manner. See trolling.
  • To allure; entice; draw on.
  • To angle or fish in.
  • To roll; roll in.
  • To go round; pass; circulate: sometimes with an indefinite it.
  • To stroll; ramble.
  • To wag; move glibly.
  • To take part in a catch or round; sing catches or rounds.
  • To angle or fish in a particular manner. See trolling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Scand. Myth.) A supernatural being, often represented as of diminutive size, but sometimes as a giant, and fabled to inhabit caves, hills, and like places; a witch.
  • noun (Bot.) Same as Globeflower (a).
  • noun The act of moving round; routine; repetition.
  • noun A song the parts of which are sung in succession; a catch; a round.
  • noun A trolley.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English trollen, to wander about, from Old French troller, of Germanic origin. N., senses 3a and b, influenced by troll.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Old Norse.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English trollen, trollin ("to walk, wander"). Cognate with Low German trullen ("to troll").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Norwegian, Danish or Swedish troll, from Old Norse trǫll “witch, mage, conjurer” (compare Icelandic tröll), possibly related to the Middle High German trolle ("spook, wraith, monster, ogre") . Norwegian fortrylle ("to bewitch"), Norwegian and Danish trylle ("to conjure") and Swedish trolla ("to conjure").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English troll ("to go about", "to stroll", "to roll from side to side"), from Old French troller (French trôler) and Middle High German trollen ("to stroll"); fishing sense possibly influenced by trawl and/or trail


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  • Someone who finds pleasure in starting flame wars on the internet. Sort of a sadistic devil's advocate.

    October 17, 2007

  • I think this does an injustice to devil's advocates, many of whom have honorable motives.

    October 17, 2007

  • Right, hence the modifier sadistic. I enjoy being a devil's advocate myself quite often, as it plays a valuable role in the Socratic method (a way I frequently converse with people). I assure you, my motives are always pure. :-P Trolls, however, are just rabblerousers and have no motives beyond their own epicaricous entertainment.

    October 18, 2007

  • I'm so happy we don't have trolls in Wordie. But just in case anyone of us happened to see one of them,


    If we don't like a discussion, let's just ignore it.

    (Personally, I won't open two of the pages anymore - unless the first line of the comment contains the word uranus.)

    April 21, 2008

  • Pro, at the risk of flagrantly denying your eminently useful suggestion, and although your proposal is almost exactly one that I try to follow myself... Sometimes the answer isn't silence, but more speech.

    A troll is just a troll, and probably won't stay long or come back. But there's not really a way to tell if a new user is a troll or just trying to figure stuff out. In the case of new users, those who hang out on this site owe it to them to try to be reasonable and explain our (sometimes bizarre) reactions.

    In the case of actual trolls, ignoring them does work. But so does merciless teasing (and if nothing else, it entertains those of us indulging in it).

    But in the case of hateful speech or flagrantly offensive speech... the answer is not censorship, nor is it letting the comment lie on the site like a time-bomb ready to destroy a casual user's day--it's talking them to death.

    But I love your comment, and I love that you chose this page to post it on. :)

    April 21, 2008

  • Uranus.

    Pro: You realize that you have more or less invited everyone to open all future comments with the U-word, don't you?

    April 21, 2008

  • Uranus.

    I've been eyeballing the google ads this morning and have come to the conclusion that the often highly nonlinear thinking of many Wordie users and the resulting eclectic page content may be posing a bit of a challenge for google.

    I like that. On the other hand, it may be that we are just providing the beast with advanced training, thereby accelerating the move toward world domination.

    April 21, 2008

  • I hope John is being paid handsomely for the advanced training.

    April 22, 2008

  • March 3, 2010

  • Just to add about the usage of the word.

    I quote this from

    If you have ever participated in an open Internet discussion group, particularly one that deals with contentious issues, you are probably familiar with the concept of a "troll." A troll is someone who is not really interested in the discussion at hand, but instead enjoys making outrageous or inflammatory remarks just to upset the other participants.

    October 7, 2010

  • Anyone from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (because they live below the bridge).

    October 19, 2010

  • Sigh

    December 5, 2010

  • ...nigh.

    December 5, 2010

  • what a night.

    December 5, 2010

  • People on rants sometimes accuse other people of being this.

    June 9, 2012