What does tortoise mean?

Definitions for tortoise
ˈtɔr təstor·toise

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word tortoise.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. tortoisenoun

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


  1. tortoisenoun

    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.

  2. Etymology: tortuse, tortuce, tortuge, from tortuca, possibly from tartarucha, from tartaruchus, from ταρταροῦχος, because it used to be thought that tortoises and turtles came from the underworld; or from tortus.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Tortoisenoun

    Etymology: tortue, French.

    In his needy shop a tortoise hung,
    An alligator stuft. William Shakespeare.

    A living tortoise being turned upon its back, not being able to make use of its paws for the returning of itself, because they could only bend towards the belly, it could help itself only by its neck and head; sometimes one side, sometimes another, by pushing against the ground, to rock itself as in a cradle, to find out where the inequality of the ground might permit it to roll its shell. John Ray, on the Creation.

    Their targets in a tortoise cast, the foes
    Secure advancing, to the turrets rose. John Dryden, Æn.


  1. Tortoise

    Tortoises () are reptiles of the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (Latin: tortoise). Like other turtles, tortoises have a shell to protect from predation and other threats. The shell in tortoises is generally hard, and like other members of the suborder Cryptodira, they retract their necks and heads directly backward into the shell to protect them. Tortoises can vary in size with some species, such as the Galápagos giant tortoise, growing to more than 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) in length, whereas others like the Speckled cape tortoise have shells that measure only 6.8 centimetres (2.7 in) long. Several lineages of tortoises have independently evolved very large body sizes in excess of 100 kg, including the Galapagos giant tortoise and the Aldabra giant tortoise. They are usually diurnal animals with tendencies to be crepuscular depending on the ambient temperatures. They are generally reclusive animals. Tortoises are the longest-living land animals in the world, although the longest-living species of tortoise is a matter of debate. Galápagos tortoises are noted to live over 150 years, but an Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita may have lived an estimated 255 years. In general, most tortoise species can live 80–150 years. Tortoises are placid and slow-moving, with an average walking speed of 0.2–0.5 km/h.


  1. tortoise

    A tortoise is a land-dwelling reptile belonging to the family Testudinidae of the order Testudines (also known as turtles). It is characterized by a large, sturdy shell for protection and strong, short legs. Tortoises are known for their slow movement and long lifespan, with some species known to live for over a century. They are herbivorous, feeding mainly on a diet of plants and fruits.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tortoisenoun

    any one of numerous species of reptiles of the order Testudinata

  2. Tortoisenoun

    same as Testudo, 2

  3. Tortoisenoun

    having a color like that of a tortoise's shell, black with white and orange spots; -- used mostly to describe cats of that color

  4. Tortoisenoun

    a tortoise-shell cat


  1. Tortoise

    Tortoises are a family of land-dwelling reptiles in the order Testudines. Like their marine relatives, the sea turtles, tortoises are shielded from predators by a shell. The top part of the shell is the carapace, the underside is the plastron, and the two are connected by the bridge. The tortoise endoskeleton has the adaptation of having an external shell fused to the ribcage. Tortoises can vary in size from a few centimeters to two meters. They are usually diurnal animals with tendencies to be crepuscular depending on the ambient temperatures. They are generally reclusive animals.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Tortoise

    tor′tis, or -tois, n. together with turtles, a well-defined order of reptiles, distinguished especially by the dorsal (carapace) and ventral (plastron) shields which protect the body.—n. Tor′toise-shell, the horny epidermic plate of a species of turtle.—adj. of the colour of the foregoing, mottled in yellow and black. [O. Fr. tortis—L. tortus, twisted.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. tortoise

    In military antiquity, the form of battle adopted by the Greeks in besieging fortified towns. It served to protect the besiegers in their approach to the walls. This invention was formed by the soldiers placing their shields over their heads, in a sloping position, similar to the tiles of a house. The first rank stood erect, the second stooped a little, the third still more, and the last rank knelt. They were thus protected from the missile weapons of the foe, as they advanced or stood under the walls of an enemy. The chelone was similar to the testudo of the Romans. See Testudo.

Suggested Resources

  1. tortoise

    Song lyrics by tortoise -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by tortoise on the Lyrics.com website.

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How to pronounce tortoise?

How to say tortoise in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of tortoise in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of tortoise in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of tortoise in a Sentence

  1. The Notorious B.I.G. Green:

    Just like a person who has a dog would hire a dog walker, I figured why not a tortoise walker? it took on a life of its own ... I heard from about 500.

  2. E. B. White:

    Deathlessness should be arrived at in a... haphazard fashion. Loving fame as much as any man, we shall carve our initials in the shell of a tortoise and turn him loose in a peat bog.

  3. Eric Good:

    People poach ploughshare tortoises for their value as pets, like coin collectors who want a mint coin, collectors want a perfect tortoise, so by defacing the animals we make them less appealing to buyers.

  4. Jeb Bush:

    I got an email from brother George saying, 'Well done, Tortoise,' that's my new nickname because I told him I'm the tortoise in the race: slow, steady progress. Stay focused, stay steady, do the right thing each and every day.

  5. Jorge Carrion:

    He's contributed a large percentage to the lineage that we are returning to Espanola, there's a feeling of happiness to have the possibility of returning that tortoise to his natural state.

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Translations for tortoise

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"tortoise." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 25 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/tortoise>.

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