"Troll" - what does it mean?

edited February 2013 in Everything and Nothing

I just encountered a thread over at the pool in which someone probably a decade older than I used the word "troll" as a verb. On reflection, I don’t think I know what this word means.

GoeffD used the word to suggest that he had set forth a position he may not have believed. However, when the word is used as an allegation against me, my sense is not that people doubt that it is my position, but that I am expressing it solely for the purpose of making them angsty.

Does the word have a commonly accepted meaning, or is it a catchall for any form of expression one dislikes?


  • When the 'pool uses a word, it means just what they choose it to mean - neither more nor less.
  • Fair enough.  Found this on Wiki.


    It has been asserted that the verb to troll originates from Old French troller, a hunting term. A verb "trôler" is found in modern French-English dictionaries, where the main meaning given is "to lead, or drag, somebody about". In modern English usage, the verb to troll describes a fishing technique of slowly dragging a lure or baited hook from a moving boat.[6] A similar but distinct verb, "to trawl," describes the act of dragging a fishing net (not a line). Whereas trolling with a fishing line is recreational, trawling with a net is generally a commercial activity.

    The noun troll comes from the Old Norse word for a mythological monster.[7] The word evokes the trolls of Scandinavian folklore and children's tales, where they are often creatures bent on mischief and wickedness. The contemporary use of the term is alleged to have appeared on the Internet in the late 1980s,[8] but the earliest known example is from 1992.[9] Early non-Internet related use of trolling for actions deliberately performed to provoke a reaction can be found in the military; by 1972 the term trolling for MiGs was documented in use by US Navy pilots in Vietnam.[10]"

  • As you have observed, the word's meaning is driven by context.
  • Troll used to have more of a meaning but now it's just a term to isolate and potentially remove someone you disagree with.
  • In the United States, in the 20th century, its primary usage was as a fishing term.
  • Maybe Zuk chums the waters
  • Been lurking here and at the pool for a while. Figured I actually may be able to contribute something so here goes. When they use the word "troll" over there I think it is more in line with several of the definitions found here http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Internet%20Troll  Consider the use as a verb to mean a person in the process of being a "troll". For the most part it's an attempt to shame someone they disagree with into being quiet.

    It's pretty obvious that the pool is a liberal echo chamber. The few posters with dissenting opinions that are met with such vitriol and flecks of spittle (to steal a phrase) are considered trolls or trolling because most there cannot fathom anyone having an opinion other than what they were fed on daily kos or whatever liberal propaganda site tells them how to think. I believe this also plays into why some are convinced Zuk and JIMP are the same person.


  • Krog/Kieth, that seems a reasonable explanation overall, but the elasticity in the use of the term makes any precise meaning hard to find.

    My sense is that the use of the word involves a reversed chain of reasoning that begins with a reader being irked, then that reader supposing that the purpose of the writer was to irk the reader, and a conclusion that the writer is therefore malevolent.

  • I believe part 2 of your post nails it. Not only are you wrong to disagree but there is something wrong with you for doing so. You are either being contrarian for the sake of argument or there is something wrong with you, mentally or morally. Think of the children.

    Plus you must remember who you are dealing with. It is difficult to discern a precise meaning from the vast majority of the posts there. Other than conservatives are evil and dumb that is.

  • Welcome, Krog. Good to have you.
  • Matt, it means you use words & stuff to...you know...explain stuff.

  • "He can explain it for you, but he can't understand it for you."
  • edited February 2013
    2.FOH. said:

    Matt, it means you use words & stuff to...you know...explain stuff.

    Stop it with the zuk'd up semantics, troll.
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