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

  • n. Any of various aquatic or terrestrial reptiles of the order Testudines (or Chelonia), having horny toothless jaws and a bony or leathery shell into which the head, limbs, and tail can be withdrawn in most species.
  • n. Chiefly British A sea turtle.
  • intransitive v. To hunt for turtles, especially as an occupation.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To capsize.
  • n. Archaic A turtledove.
  • n. A turtleneck.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any land or marine reptile of the order Testudines, characterised by a protective shell enclosing its body.
  • n. A sea turtle.
  • n. An Ancient Roman attack method, where the shields held by the soldiers hide them, not only left, right, front and back, but also from above.
  • n. A type of robot having a domed case (and so resembling the reptile), used in education, especially for making line drawings by means of a computer program.
  • n. An on-screen cursor that serves the same function as a turtle for drawing.
  • n. The curved plate in which the form is held in a type-revolving cylinder press.
  • v. To flip over onto the back or top; to turn upside down.
  • v. To turn and swim upside down.
  • v. To hunt turtles, especially in the water.
  • v. To build up a large defense force and strike only punctually, rather than going for an offensive strategy.
  • n. A turtle dove.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The turtledove.
  • n. Any one of the numerous species of Testudinata, especially a sea turtle, or chelonian.
  • n. The curved plate in which the form is held in a type-revolving cylinder press.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pursue or capture turtles; make a practice or business of taking turtles.
  • n. A turtle-dove.
  • n. A tortoise; any chelonian or testudinate; any member of the Chelonia or Testudinata (see the technical names); especially, a marine tortoise, provided with flippers; absolutely, the green turtle, as Chelonia midas (see cut below), highly esteemed for soup. See cuts referred to under tortoise, also cuts under Aspidonectes, Eretmochelys, periotic, Pleurospondylia, slider, and stinkpot.
  • n. The detachable segment of the cylinder of a rotary printing-machine which contains the types or plates to be printed: so called from its curved surface.
  • n. (See also alligator-turtle, land turtle, mud-turtle, sea-turtle, snapping-turtle.)

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

  • v. hunt for turtles, especially as an occupation
  • n. any of various aquatic and land reptiles having a bony shell and flipper-like limbs for swimming
  • n. a sweater or jersey with a high close-fitting collar
  • v. overturn accidentally


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

Perhaps from French tortue, from Old French, from Medieval Latin *tortūca, perhaps alteration (influenced by Latin tortus, twisted, from the shape of its legs) of Vulgar Latin *tartarūca, feminine of *tartarūcus, of Tartarus, from Late Latin tartarūchus, from Late Greek tartaroukhos, occupying Tartarus : Tartaros, Tartarus + ekhein, to hold; see eunuch.
Middle English, from Old English, from Latin turtur, probably of imitative origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Modification of French tortue (probably under the influence of turtledove). See tortoise for more.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Ultimately from Latin turtur ("turtledove"), of imitative origin.



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  • In fighting video games, when one blocks too much.

    "Man, what a turtle! I can't even get one hit!"

    August 14, 2009

  • “And the turtles, of course...all the turtles are free, as turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.�?

    — Dr Seuss

    November 19, 2008

  • Perhaps he's related to Bob Dylan.

    November 9, 2008

  • Ol' Vachel wasn't really trying very hard here, I'd have to say.

    turtle - puddle?

    The phrase "phoning it in" comes to mind.

    November 9, 2008

  • There was a little turtle.

    He lived in a box.

    He swam in a puddle.

    He climbed on the rocks.

    He snapped at a mosquito.

    He snapped at a flea.

    He snapped at a minnow.

    And he snapped at me.

    He caught the mosquito.

    He caught the flea.

    He caught the minnow.

    But he didn't catch me.

    - Vachel Lindsay, 'The Little Turtle'.

    November 9, 2008

  • And believe me, it's turtles all the way down.

    February 19, 2008

  • Hey! Disc World in Terry Pratchett books is on the back of a giant turtle too (gender of turtle unknown)!

    February 19, 2008

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    February 18, 2008

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    January 25, 2008

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    January 25, 2008

  • Weirdnet strikes again!

    December 2, 2007