What does sealioning mean online?

Asking questions to frustrate a person

Sealioning is an act of trolling where a person appears genuinely curious by civilly asking someone questions about a topic but is actually trying to wear them down by frustrating them. While you may see this behavior in real life (IRL), you will often see it online, especially on social sites like Twitter and Reddit.

For example, if you are arguing about the merits of drilling for oil, a person sealioning you may ask you a long list of questions about drilling that they could easily Google themselves. This approach allows them to wear their target down and possibly evoke a frustrated response, to which they can reply as a wronged victim.

Origin of sealioning

The slang term "sealioning" originated from a 2014 comic strip by David Malki from Wondermark. In the comic, a character remarks that they do not like sea lions, then a sea lion appears, incessantly asking the character why they don't like them. Fans of the comic eventually dubbed this behavior, which trolls sometimes employ, as "sealioning," starting with gamergate trolls in 2014.


I think I need to log off Twitter and go touch grass. This sealioning dude is so frustrating
The only way I stay on Twitter is by blocking all those clowns
Sealioning tweet with the original comic that inspired the term
Sealioning tweet with the original comic that inspired the term

Related Slang


Updated June 7, 2023

Sealioning definition by

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