tor·​toise | \ ˈtȯr-təs How to pronounce tortoise (audio) \

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

The Humane Society of Cobb County put the word out Tuesday on its Facebook page to look for the deformed tortoise. Ben Brasch, ajc, "Cobb family searching for runaway tortoise. Have you seen Abigail?," 10 July 2018 From leaping dolphins and playful sea lions to the cluster's famous Galapagos penguins (the only species of the birds that live above the equator) and iconic tortoises, there’s plenty to learn and explore — and the pictures won’t be half bad either. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "6 Luxury Pre-Planned Trips You Need to Book Immediately," 15 Mar. 2019 Visitors can touch and feed sharks, otters, tortoises, birds and other exotic animals, and snorkel with stingrays and reef sharks. Doreen Christensen,, "Broward to get SeaQuest interactive aquarium at Galleria in Fort Lauderdale," 6 June 2018 Claudette BariusUniversal Highlights of this movie include: Winston Duke in tortoise-shell glasses and a Howard sweatshirt. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "I Saw 'Us' and I Will Never Know Peace Again," 25 Mar. 2019 The whole thing started when Karl Kuehn took to social media to share a photo of his cat, Hamberton (Ham for short) and his tortoise, Tortie. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Photo of an Unlikely Friendship Between a Cat and a Tortoise Goes Viral," 11 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, a black fanny pack and tortoise-print sunglasses, were spiffy final touches. Vogue, "This Is How Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas Do Vacation Style," 25 Mar. 2019 The vibe was carefree and fun with the only sign of the dreaded winter being the cozy fire, which served mainly to illuminate the beautiful acrylic handbags of gleaming tortoise shell and iridescent ivory and bronze. Mai Morsch, Vogue, "Edie Parker Hosted a Colorful Cocktail Party That Made Guests Forget All About the New York Slush," 13 Feb. 2019 Just like the tortoise and the hare, some babies get off to a fast start crawling soon after their first half birthday — while others take it slow and steady. Karla Walsh, Woman's Day, "When Do Babies Crawl? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 28 Jan. 2019

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

12 May 2019

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Time Traveler for tortoise

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

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More Definitions for tortoise



English Language Learners Definition of tortoise

: a kind of turtle that lives on land


tor·​toise | \ ˈtȯr-təs How to pronounce tortoise (audio) \

Kids Definition of tortoise

1 : a usually large turtle that lives on land
2 : turtle

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More from Merriam-Webster on tortoise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tortoise

Spanish Central: Translation of tortoise

Nglish: Translation of tortoise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tortoise for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tortoise

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).


one that collects or salvages junk

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