Definition of testudo in English:


Line breaks: tes|tudo
Pronunciation: /tɛˈstjuːdəʊ
, -ˈstuː-/

noun (plural testudos or testudines /-dɪniːz/)

  • 1(In ancient Rome) a wheeled screen with an arched roof, used to protect besieging troops.
    More example sentences
    • It was usually the same men in each testudo as each had to know exactly where he was to be placed.
    • Miles did attempt to make a contribution to operations in Cuba, in the form of a little invention based on the ancient Roman testudo.
    • When the bombardment failed, Salisbury's men built a testudo or "tortoise," a wheeled covered shed under which his men worked battering rams.
  • 1.1A protective screen formed by a body of troops holding their shields above their heads in such a way that the shields overlap.
    More example sentences
    • The testudo, the tortoise formation, involved raising the scutums into a shell.
    • Roman soldiers used to form a testudo or tortoise, by some putting their shields over their heads and others in front.


late Middle English: from Latin, literally 'tortoise', from testa 'tile, shell'.

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