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A Troll is a fictitious humanoid monster of folklore, as in "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," the well-known folk tale in which a troll living under a bridge torments some billy goats that want to cross.

The English word derives from the Nordic troll, meaning a witch or other (male or female) supernatural being[?]. Grendel in the poem Beowulf is a closely similar creature.

According to a 1908 Cyclopedia: "Trolls are Dwarfs of Northern mythology, living in hills or mounds; they are represented as stumpy, misshapen, and humpbacked, inclined to thieving, and fond of carrying off children or substituting one of their own offspring for that of a human mother. They are called hill-people, and are especially averse to noise, from a recollection of the time when Thor used to fling his hammer at them. "

Trolls are one of the most frequent creatures of Scandinavian fairy tales and more common than elves, dwarves, witches and giants. They hoard gold. They come in any size and can be huge as giants or small as dwarves. They are however always regarded as having poor intellect (especially the males), big noses, long arms, and as being hairy and not very beautiful (except for certain females). In Scandinavian fairy tales trolls generally turn to stone if exposed to sunlight. They live in the forest and in mountains and sometimes kidnap children that have to live with them. Occasionally they even steal a new-born baby leaving their own offspring, a changeling, in return (an ancient explanation for children born with Down's syndrome). Small Swedish children very often believe in trolls, and a way to teach children to brush their teeth is to tell them to get rid of the very small "tooth trolls" that otherwise will make holes in their teeth.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth, trolls are very large (around 9 feet tall) humanoids of poor intellect. They turn to stone when exposed to sunlight and they enjoy eating hobbits and dwarves. In The Lord of the Rings, a new breed appears, called the Olog-Hai. Unlike the old trolls, they are capable of speech and movement under sunlight. It is unknown how Sauron the Enemy managed to breed them - though it is implied that Trolls were corrupted Ents, similarly to the way that Orcs were corrupted Elves. It is not known how serious this hint is intended to be, as Tolkien hardly ever discussed the ways in which "good" beings could be corrupted to evil.

In the Dungeons & Dragons Role-playing game trolls are tall and skinny monsters with large noses and green skin. In D&D, trolls steadily regenerate all damage unless it is caused by acid or fire. (This version of troll originated with the Poul Anderson story Three Hearts and Three Lions.)

In the Earthdawn role-playing game, trolls are a tall, muscular and honorable race which players can role-play. Earthdawn trolls have curling horns like goats, lots of body hair and enlarged lower canines.

Troll is also a gas platform; one of the greatest engineering projects in history. Built by Norske Shell, the platform was a TV sensation when it was towed into the North Sea in 1996. There it was handed over to Statoil. It reaches the sea floor, 303 metres below the surface of the Norwegian Sea. Gas rises from 40 wells, and is exported through a number of pipes.

Trolling also means walking, this is more or less basic slang now (from stroll), but it used to be polari.

Another sense of the word trolling is the practice of fishing by drawing a baited line or lure behind a boat. See trolling for fish.

The Jargon File supports the position that the term Internet troll comes from the second meaning (to "fish" for gullible responses) rather than the first (to act like a generally vile and troublesome creature).

In Middle English the word troll (derived from French trou 'hole') was used with the meaning 'hole', especially to designate wounds by sword or knife, comparable to 'touché' (literally 'touched') to say 'you are pierced'; with this meaning it was used in many translations of ancient texts into English, still available; later this term was derogatively applied to those women who followed soldiers with the purpose of prostitution; these meanings are now obsolete.

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