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. 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. 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, but the earliest known example is from 1992. 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.
Read more about this topic: Don't Feed The Troll
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Famous quotes containing the word etymology:
“Semantically, taste is rich and confusing, its etymology as odd and interesting as that of style. But while stylederiving from the stylus or pointed rod which Roman scribes used to make marks on wax tabletssuggests activity, taste is more passive.... Etymologically, the word we use derives from the Old French, meaning touch or feel, a sense that is preserved in the current Italian word for a keyboard, tastiera.”
—Stephen Bayley, British historian, art critic. Taste: The Story of an Idea, Taste: The Secret Meaning of Things, Random House (1991)
“The universal principle of etymology in all languages: words are carried over from bodies and from the properties of bodies to express the things of the mind and spirit. The order of ideas must follow the order of things.”
—Giambattista Vico (16881744)