From French drôle (“comical, odd, funny”), from drôle (“buffoon”) from Middle French drolle (“a merry fellow, pleasant rascal”) from Old French drolle (“one who lives luxuriously”), from Middle Dutch drol (“fat little man, goblin”) from Old Norse troll (“giant, troll”) (compare Middle High German trolle (“clown”)), from Proto-Germanic *truzlą (“creature which walks clumsily”), from *truzlaną (“to walk with short steps”). Doublet of troll.
droll (plural drolls)
- (archaic) A buffoon.
- 1922 February, James Joyce, “[Episode 12: The Cyclops]”, in Ulysses, Paris: Shakespeare & Co.; Sylvia Beach, OCLC 560090630; republished London: Published for the Egoist Press, London by John Rodker, Paris, October 1922, OCLC 2297483, page 294:
- Our two inimitable drolls did a roaring trade with their broadsheets among lovers of the comedy element and nobody who has a corner in his heart for real Irish fun without vulgarity will grudge them their hardearned pennies.
- (archaic) To jest, to joke.
- 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Flight in the Heather: The Heugh of Corrynakeigh”, in Kidnapped, being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: […], London; Paris: Cassell & Company, Limited., OCLC 1056292939, page 205:
- "Eh, man," said I, drolling with him a little, "you're very ingenious! But would it not be simpler for you to write him a few words in black and white?" / "And that is an excellent observe, Mr. Balfour of Shaws," says Alan, drolling with me; [...]
droll n (genitive singular drolls, no plural)