ter·​ra·​pin ˈter-ə-pən How to pronounce terrapin (audio)
: any of various aquatic turtles (family Emydidae)
especially : diamondback terrapin

Illustration of terrapin

Illustration of terrapin

Examples of terrapin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Oysters, terrapin shells and duck bones found in the backyard offer a clue, according to Sarah Groesbeck, who conducted research on the homes. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 16 Sep. 2023 Inside Thirsty Turtle, the familiar wall décor (neon beer signs, sports pennants, painting of a brew-hoisting terrapin, framed Leonard VerMeer photo collage) are back in place. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 16 Mar. 2023 Restaurants throughout the city served terrapin steaks and turtle soup. Gary Kamiya, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 Nov. 2021 There also were more unexpected findings, including rabbit, deer, opossum, raccoon and terrapin — which would later become synonymous with the Chesapeake region’s finest food offerings. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, 23 Sep. 2021 There’s terrapin soup, of course, but Howard also has plenty to say about the preparation of the Chesapeake Bay soft crab. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, 19 June 2021 An actual physical classroom, located in the Carriage House at Belmont Manor, is bright and cheery with posters of local birds and insects on the walls and two aquariums, one with a snake and the other with a terrapin. Katie V. Jones, baltimoresun.com, 22 Apr. 2021 Technically, a red-eared slider is both a turtle and a terrapin. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, 3 Nov. 2020 Sea-level rise due to climate change could also destroy terrapin nesting habitat. National Geographic, 26 Mar. 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'terrapin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


alteration of earlier torope, from Virginia Algonquian *to·rəpe·w

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of terrapin was in 1613

Dictionary Entries Near terrapin

Cite this Entry

“Terrapin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/terrapin. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ter·​ra·​pin ˈter-ə-pən How to pronounce terrapin (audio)
: any of various North American turtles living in fresh or somewhat salty water

More from Merriam-Webster on terrapin

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!