- 1a slow-moving typically herbivorous land reptile of warm climates, enclosed in a scaly or leathery domed shell into which it can retract its head and thick legs. Called turtle in North America.
- Family Testudinidae: numerous genera and species, including the European tortoise (Testudo graeca).
- 2another term for testudo.
late Middle English tortu, tortuce: from Old French tortue and Spanish tortuga, both from medieval Latin tortuca, of uncertain origin. The current spelling dates from the mid 16th century