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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