tor·toise | \ ˈtȯr-təs \

Definition of tortoise 

1 : any of a family (Testudinidae) of terrestrial turtles broadly : turtle

2 : someone or something regarded as slow or laggard

Examples of tortoise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Cattle and tortoise grazed on the same grasses — and with no one to referee, the cows usually won. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter One: A War in the Desert," 15 May 2018 An exotic pet veterinarian told them Abigail was actually a tortoise, Johnston said. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Cobb family searching for runaway tortoise. Have you seen Abigail?," 10 July 2018 Before her party was whisked toward the Galapagos tortoises, Threlkeld’s thoughts wandered. Peter Rowe,, "Aging and ailing, a fan takes one more trip to the zoo," 15 Feb. 2018 The topics are as follows: Turtles and tortoises, small mammals, snakes and lizards, farm animals, birds and wildlife. Courant Community, "Community News For The Wethersfield Edition," 10 July 2018 Chevy does sell one overseas under the Trailblazer name, and the color of that jacket and the tortoise shell glasses in its pocket do hearken back to the 1970s glory days of the K5, if not a high point in men's fashion. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "The Chevy Blazer returns in a bizarre way," 21 June 2018 Experts advise seeking out a local turtle and tortoise society or club — there are dozens across the country — for information and animals. Washington Post, "Turtles can make great pets, but do your homework first," 5 June 2018 Wildlife-lovers can also make arrangements to tour the Turtle Conservancy and meet some charming tortoises and turtles. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "Memorial Day Getaways That Squeeze the Most Out of Your Day Off," 15 May 2018 The Galápagos tortoises are among the longest-living vertebrates, surviving up to 170 years. Allie Almario, Town & Country, "How to Plan a Trip to the Galápagos Islands," 5 Oct. 2016

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

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First Known Use of tortoise

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tortoise

Middle English tortu, tortuse, from Anglo-French tortue — more at turtle

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Statistics for tortoise

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for tortoise

The first known use of tortoise was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of tortoise

: a kind of turtle that lives on land


tor·toise | \ ˈtȯr-təs \

Kids Definition of tortoise

1 : a usually large turtle that lives on land

2 : turtle

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Comments on tortoise

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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