noun \ˈtr-təs\

: a kind of turtle that lives on land

Full Definition of TORTOISE

:  any of a family (Testudinidae) of terrestrial turtles; broadly :  turtle
:  someone or something regarded as slow or laggard

Origin of TORTOISE

Middle English tortu, tortuse, from Anglo-French tortue — more at turtle
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with TORTOISE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Galapagos tortoise (Geochelone elephantopus).—Francisco Erize/Bruce Coleman Ltd.

Any of some 49 species (family Testudinidae) of slow-moving terrestrial, herbivorous turtles, found in the Old World and New World but chiefly in Africa and Madagascar. Tortoises have a high, domed shell, heavy elephant-like hind legs, and hard-scaled forelegs. The four North American species (genus Gopherus) have a brown shell and flattened forelimbs adapted for burrowing and are about 8–14 in. (20–35 cm) long. The common, or European, tortoise (Testudo graeca) has a shell about 7–10 in. (18–25 cm) long. Most species of giant tortoises (genus Geochelone) on the Galapagos and other islands are now rare or extinct. One captive Galapagos tortoise had a shell 4.25 ft (1.3 m) long and weighed 300 lbs (140 kg).


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