Merriam-Webster Redefines “Troll” Because We Live In Trump’s Era
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary has amassed more than half a million Twitter followers since last November’s election, where Donald Trump ultimately emerged as the 45th president of the United States.
In response to the unpredictability of our political landscape since then, Merriam-Webster played a brazen and quick-witted fact-checking tool, engaging its millennial fan base and chin-checking Trump for his countless alternative facts.
On Monday (Sept. 18), “America’s most trusted online dictionary” issued more than 250 new words and definitions. The list includes a number of words that have taken on fresher meanings in light of today’s millennial ethos and current social climate, with “troll” being the most flagrant.
Originally a noun used to describe a dwarf or giant in Scandinavian folklore, “troll” is now also a verb that means “to antagonize (others) online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant, or offensive comments or other disruptive content.” Other additions include “dog whistle,” “alt-right,” “concealed carry” and “open carry.”
“With politics seeming to be ever-prominent in the public’s mind, terms like alt-right and dog whistle are not surprising additions,” Merriam-Webster stated on its home site.