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Line breaks: tur¦tle
Pronunciation: /ˈtəːt(ə)l

Definition of turtle in English:


1 (also sea turtle) A large marine reptile with a bony or leathery shell and flippers, coming ashore annually on sandy beaches to lay eggs.
  • Families Cheloniidae (seven species) and Dermochelyidae (the leatherback)
1.1 [mass noun] The flesh of a sea turtle, especially the green turtle, used chiefly for soup.
Example sentences
  • One of the main dishes was a soup - soft shelled turtle soup.
  • The ball came to an end at 3am, when the waitresses served turtle soup.
  • She told me about Escoffier's cookbook and its recipe for turtle soup.
2A freshwater reptile related to the sea turtles and tortoises, typically having a flattened shell. Called terrapin in South Africa and India and tortoise in Australia.
  • Order Chelonia: several families, in particular Emydidae and Kinosternidae
2.1North American Any reptile of the order Chelonia, including the terrapins and tortoises.
3A directional cursor in a computer graphics system which can be instructed to move around a screen.


mid 16th century: apparently an alteration of French tortue (see tortoise).


turn turtle

(Chiefly of a boat) turn upside down: the other boat nearly turned turtle several times his tractor turned turtle and killed him
More example sentences
  • Kevin bellows instructions, and in quick time we exit the boat, turn turtle and fin towards the edge of the drop-off.
  • She had turned turtle and capsized and those who were not able to get out in the first few hours were surely trapped for good.
  • Four minutes later the ship turned turtle and sank.

Definition of turtle in:

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