tortoise

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English[edit]

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A tortoise

Etymology[edit]

Middle English tortuse, tortuce, tortuge, from Medieval Latin tortuca, possibly from Late Latin tartarūcha, from Late Latin tartarūchus (of Tartarus), from Ancient Greek ταρταροῦχος (tartaroûkhos, from Tartaros, Tartarus, the land of the dead in ancient stories), because it used to be thought that tortoises and turtles came from the underworld; or from Latin tortus (twisted).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

tortoise (plural tortoises)

  1. 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.

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