from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various terrestrial turtles, especially one of the family Testudinidae, characteristically having thick clublike hind limbs and a high, rounded carapace.
  • noun One that moves slowly; a laggard.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An American nymphalid butterfly, Eugonia j-album: more fully called the Compton tortoise.
  • noun Same as tortoise-beetle.
  • noun A turtle; any chelonian or testudinate; a member of the order Chelonia or Testudinata (see the technical terms).
  • noun A movable roof formerly used to protect the soldiers who worked a battering-ram.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of reptiles of the order Testudinata.
  • noun (Rom. Antiq.) Same as Testudo, 2.
  • noun See under Box, Land, etc.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Painted turtle, under Painted.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Trionyx.
  • noun (Zoöl.) A small American fresh-water tortoise (Chelopus guttatus or Nanemys guttatus) having a blackish carapace on which are scattered round yellow spots.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of numerous species of small tortoise-shaped beetles. Many of them have a brilliant metallic luster. The larvæ feed upon the leaves of various plants, and protect themselves beneath a mass of dried excrement held over the back by means of the caudal spines. The golden tortoise beetle (Cassida aurichalcea) is found on the morning-glory vine and allied plants.
  • noun (Bot.) See Elephant's foot, under Elephant.
  • noun the substance of the shell or horny plates of several species of sea turtles, especially of the hawkbill turtle. It is used in inlaying and in the manufacture of various ornamental articles.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of several species of handsomely colored butterflies of the genus Aglais, as Aglais Milberti, and Aglais urticæ, both of which, in the larva state, feed upon nettles.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the hawkbill turtle. See Hawkbill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.

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

  • noun usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant-like limbs; worldwide in arid area except Australia and Antarctica


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

[Middle English tortuce, turtle, tortoise, probably partly from Anglo-Norman tortouse (variant of Old French tortue) and partly from Medieval Latin tortūca, both ultimately from Vulgar Latin *tartarūca, feminine of *tartarūcus, of Tartarus; see turtle.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").



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  • When you put a tortoise on the front of a Formula One car, at what speed does it shut its eyes?

    May 8, 2009