Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A Roman siege device consisting of a movable screen protecting the besiegers' approach to a wall.
  • n. A cover formed by the overlapping shields of besiegers and held over their heads.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of tortoises which formerly included a large number of diverse forms, but is now restricted to certain terrestrial species, such as the European land tortoise (Testudo Græca) and the gopher of the Southern United States.
  • n. A cover or screen which a body of troops formed with their shields or targets, by holding them over their heads when standing close to each other. This cover resembled the back of a tortoise, and served to shelter the men from darts, stones, and other missiles. A similar defense was sometimes formed of boards, and moved on wheels.
  • n. A kind of musical instrument. a species of lyre; -- so called in allusion to the lyre of Mercury, fabled to have been made of the shell of a tortoise.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Among the ancient Romans, a defensive cover or screen which a body of troops formed by overlapping above their heads their oblong shields when in close array.
  • n. A shelter similar in shape and design to the above, employed as a defense by miners and others when working in ground or rock which is liable to cave in.
  • n. In medicine, an encysted tumor, which has been supposed to resemble the shell of a turtle. Also called talpa.
  • n. [capitalized] In herpetology, the typical genus of Testudinidæ, of widely varying limits with different authors, and much confused with Cistudo.
  • n. In anatomy, the fornix: more fully called testudo cerebri. See cerebrum.
  • n. In ancient music, a species of lyre: so called in allusion to the lyre of Mercury, fabled to have been made of the shell of the sea-tortoise. The name was also extended in medieval music to the lute.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a movable protective covering that provided protection from above; used by Roman troops when approaching the walls of a besieged fortification
  • n. type genus of the Testudinidae

Etymologies

Latin testūdō, from testa, shell.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Interestingly, the word testudo also comes from the Latin word for a protective shelter used for Roman soldiers heads, similar to a tortoise shell, so that could be the answer as well.

    Maryland Terrapins News -- www.umterps.com

  • Finally, the derivation of the word testudo itself comes from the Latin word for a protective shelter used for Roman soldiers heads, similar to a tortoise shell.

    Maryland Terrapins News -- www.umterps.com

  • Now, Roger makes no mention whatever of "testudo," while Roland says:

    Gilbertus Anglicus Medicine of the Thirteenth Century

  • It is worthy of notice also that just at the close of this chapter, Gilbert mentions a swelling called "testudo," a gland-like, gaseous (_ventosa_) tumor, usually solitary and found in "nervous" localities, like the joints of the wrist and hand.

    Gilbertus Anglicus Medicine of the Thirteenth Century

  • Screamed.] [Footnote 4: The Latin 'testudo' formed of the shields of soldiers held over their heads.] [Footnote 5: 1883 to 1848 inclusive.

    The Early Poems of Alfred Lord Tennyson

  • The quietly reasonable senator Menenius (Brian Cox) urges restraint, but his close friend the military leader Caius Martius (Ralph Fiennes) gives the crowd a tongue-lashing, and the police, their wall of shields resembling a Roman testudo, drive the mob away.

    Coriolanus – review

  • The scientific name for turtles, comes from the Latin testudo, which means tortoise.

    Turtle

  • A few groups of amphibians include more than one endemic species, such as the microhylids Rhombophryne testudo, Scaphiophryne goettliebi, the mantellids Mantella crocea, M. cowani, and Mantidactylus domerguei; and the rhacophorids Boophis laurenti and B. microtympanum.

    Madagascar subhumid forests

  • Here are the photos of that: cardboard testudo....

    Where Are Those Cow Tales: AKA Apple Caramel Cupcakes Topped with Homemade Cows Tales

  • Because Caesar's self-serving screeds were the first literary text pupils read in my day we all had to learn a huge amount about military tactics, the Roman army's structure and, of course, that never to be forgotten tortoise - testudo, testudinis f.

    Archive 2007-02-01

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  • "So measured and theatrical was the riot that I had time to appreciate the way the police formed up into small shielded testudos, lost ground, broke, then reformed, as bottles and bricks crashed down on Plexiglas."
    Psychogeography by Will Self, 101

    October 16, 2010