Definition of tortoise in English:

tortoise

Line breaks: tor|toise
Pronunciation: /ˈtɔːtəs
 
, -tɔɪz/

noun

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).
More example sentences
  • The herbivorous reptiles and tortoises had thrived until the arrival of man - and the rats that stowed away on his ships - because there had been no large predatory, carnivorous mammals for them to contend with.
  • A mammal such as a horse, that stands with its left and right feet close together, has to control transverse movements of its centre of mass much more precisely than a reptile such as a tortoise, that stands with its feet far apart.
  • But if no rains fall during the warm seasons and the tortoises don't get a chance to drink, they will enter hibernation dehydrated, malnourished, and with a bladder full of toxic waste.
1.1Australian A freshwater turtle.
More example sentences
  • The Turtle Conservation Fund has listed the 25 most endangered turtles to highlight the survival crisis facing tortoises and freshwater turtles and to unveil a global plan to prevent further extinctions.
  • Three other tortoises, two snapping turtles and a monitor lizard had to be hosed down by firefighters in Eric and Carole Griffiths' home in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester.
  • ‘Racing’ may sound like an odd term to describe a tortoise, but gopher tortoises are faster than you might think.
2 another term for testudo.
More example sentences
  • It was also used by the Romans when they used what was known as a tortoise formation to move forward to a target that was well defended.
  • The children are also learning to march like a tortoise as the Romans did, with shields at their side and on top.
  • The testudo, the tortoise formation, involved raising the scutums into a shell.

Origin

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.

Derivatives

tortoise-like

adjective & adverb
More example sentences
  • The enigmatic Eunotosaurus africanus is characterized by a semi-rigid, turtle-like rib cage, one which presumably necessitated a tortoise-like fashion of walking.
  • The action two weeks ago was the first time since the mid-1980s that effective mass secondary strike action has taken place, wrong-footing the employers and also, sadly, the tortoise-like structures of our own official trade unionism.
  • And he spent so much time with his tongue up Bush's bottom that he forgot to attend to the delectable Cherie, so that her tortoise-like face now appears everywhere, desperately craving the attention so sadly denied her by darling Tony.

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