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Trolling

  • The word trolling took on a new meaning in the early 1990s. We will examine the definition of trolling, where this new meaning may have come from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Trolling may refer to a method of fishing, or it may refer to walking in a rambling manner. The newest meaning attributed to the word trolling came about in the last years of the twentieth century, as an internet term. Trolling is the posting of an inflammatory statement online, particularly in forums or blog comment sections, or on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Trolling is designed to start an argument or to whip up a firestorm of controversy. The person who engages in trolling is called a troll. The origin of this definition of the word trolling is uncertain. Some believe it is from the fishing definition of trolling, in the sense that the troll is throwing out bait in order to catch the “fish” of angry replies. Others believe the term came from the game World of Warcraft, in which trolls are characters that do not get along with others and have a limited command of language.

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    Examples

    I can’t believe that it has anything whatsoever to do with the Civil War, but the only states that existed in 1861 in which trolling isn’t among the most popular ways to catch fish in 2018 are the ones that either were — or wanted to be — part of the Confederacy. (The Sedalia Democrat)

    Songwriters are trolling the President after he claims he misspoke during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (USA Today)

    Given how much of our culture and our politics revolve around trolling — that is, messing with other people to derive a cheap thrill from making them Very Mad Online (and off) — it’s worth considering the fate of the soccer troll and how it helps explain the state of our polity. (The Washington Post)


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