Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

tortoiseshell

play
noun tor·toise·shell \ˈtȯr-tə-ˌshel, -əsh-ˌshel\

Simple Definition of tortoiseshell

  • : the usually brown and yellow shell of a turtle that is used to make decorations

  • : a cat with yellow, orange, white, and black fur

  • : a usually brown and orange butterfly

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of tortoiseshell

  1. 1 :  the mottled horny substance of the shell of the hawksbill turtle used especially formerly in inlaying and in making various ornamental articles

  2. 2 :  any of several showy nymphalid butterflies (genera Nymphalis and Aglais)


2

tortoiseshell

adjective tor·toise·shell

Definition of tortoiseshell

  1. 1 :  made of or resembling tortoiseshell especially in mottled brown and yellow coloring <tortoiseshell glasses>

  2. 2 :  of, relating to, or being a color pattern of the domestic cat consisting of patches of black, orange, and cream



1651

First Known Use of tortoiseshell

1651


TORTOISESHELL Defined for Kids

tortoiseshell

play
noun tor·toise·shell \ˈtȯr-təs-ˌshel\

Definition of tortoiseshell for Students

  1. 1 :  a hard brown and yellow material that covers the shell of a sea tortoise used especially in the past for ornamental objects

  2. 2 :  a brightly colored butterfly





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up tortoiseshell? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tending to dismiss important matters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove reduce perplex soothe
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ