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.

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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.”

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“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.