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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 The group initially released the terrapin in 2000 and hadn't seen the animal since, according to a post by the Wetlands Institute Facebook page this past Monday. Fox News, 22 July 2019 Aside from being Alabama’s state reptile and a sharp looking terrapin, the Alabama red-bellied turtle is just one of the multitude of species inhabiting the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the richest ecosystems on the planet. Dennis Pillion | Dpillion@al.com, al, 27 Oct. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'terrapin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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

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