American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various terrestrial turtles, especially one of the family Testudinidae, characteristically having thick clublike hind limbs and a high, rounded carapace.
- n. Chiefly British A terrestrial or freshwater chelonian.
- n. One that moves slowly; a laggard.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An American nymphalid butterfly, Eugonia j-album: more fully called the Compton tortoise.
- n. Same as tortoise-beetle.
- n. A turtle; any chelonian or testudinate; a member of the order Chelonia or Testudinata (see the technical terms). It is not known what species the name originally designated; probably a land-tortoise of southern Europe, as Testudo græca. There is a tendency to distinguish terrestrial chelonians from aquatic ones, the former as tortoises, the latter as turtles; yet tortoiseshell is fixed as the name of the commercial product of certain sea-turtles. (See box-tortoise, land-tortoise, terrapin, turtle, mud-turtle, sea-turtle.) Tortoises or some kind are found in most parts, and especially the warmer parts, of the world; the species are numerous—those of the land and of fresh waters much more so than the marine forms. See also cuts under carapace, Chelonia, Chelonidæ, Chelydidæ, Cinixyinæ, Cinosternum, Cistudo, plastron, Pyxis, Testudo, Testudinata, and terrapin.
- n. A movable roof formerly used to protect the soldiers who worked a battering-ram. Sometimes it was formed by the soldiers holding their shields flat over their heads so as to overlap one another. See
- n. Any of various land-dwelling reptiles, of family Testudinidae, whose body is enclosed in a shell (carapace plus plastron). The animal can withdraw its head and four legs partially into the shell, providing some protection from predators.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of reptiles of the order Testudinata.
- n. (Rom. Antiq.) Same as Testudo, 2.
- n. usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant-like limbs; worldwide in arid area except Australia and Antarctica
- Middle English tortuse, tortuce, tortuge, from Medieval Latin tortuca, possibly from Late Latin tartarūcha, from Late Latin tartarūchus ("of Tartarus"), from Ancient Greek ταρταροῦχος (tartarouchos, "from Tartaros, Tartarus, the land of the dead in ancient stories"), because it used to be thought that tortoises and turtles came from the underworld; or from Latin tortus ("twisted"). (Wiktionary)
- Alteration (influenced by porpoise) of Middle English tortuce, from Medieval Latin tortūca, alteration of Late Latin tartarūcha, feminine of tartarūchus, of the underworld; see turtle1. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Timothy the tortoise is a splendid social critic, a keen-eyed anthropologist who sees far beyond his shell.”
“When the shell first became a matter of commerce, it was supposed that the turtle and the tortoise were the same, and the name tortoise being much older than turtle, the former appellation remained in designating the shell.”
“The giant tortoise is indigenous to the Galapagos Islands, and is also endangered.”
“Turtles. 102 -- The tortoises, more commonly called by our Indians the turtles, are of three sorts: the hawksbill, whose shell is that which we call the tortoise shell; the green turtle, whose flesh is good to eat; the third kind is called the loggerhead turtle, and neither its shell nor its flesh is of worth.”
“The terrestrial kinds are commonly known as tortoise while water dwelling ones may be called terrapins.”
“I like when it's darker, "said Ms. Kamali dressed in tortoise cat-eye sunglasses, a black blouse and ruched skirt (her own designs) with" creepy "Ann Demeulemeester-esque lace-up boots she said cost $60.”
“The colossal tortoise is noticed by Ælian (De Nat.”
“Billy Williams, the tortoise's owner, says he's had Roger since the tortoise was the size of a tennis ball.”
“Lloyds 'Turtle Wins the Race Sometimes the tortoise is the best bet.”
“Clemens said that heretofore Neptune, the planetary outpost of our system, had been called the tortoise of the skies, but that comparatively it was rapid in its motion, and had become a near neighbor.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘tortoise’.
A list of words with definitions directing us to "see cut under" (or "see cut at") another definition (with hilarity occasionally ensuing).
includes words of the "Prodcom list"
Names of animals that are also used to describe kinds of people. Nouns only, preferably single word.
For a related list, see sionnach's beastly verbs.
Nice ambient words from the movie. (With apologies to Patrick O'Brian.) Aaaah, life at sea...aboard a hulk of the British navy in 1805...
Words used to create the names of Pokémon, which are usually portmanteaux.
Looking for tweets for tortoise.