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 These sunglasses by Le Specs will never go out of style, with their dark, oversized lens surrounded by a timeless tortoise frame. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "30 of our favorite fashion finds under $100 at Nordstrom right now," 2 Apr. 2021 Arizona Game and Fish runs a tortoise adoption program. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, "'They make fantastic and personable pets': How to adopt a desert tortoise in Arizona," 9 Mar. 2021 Gopher tortoise can be spotted in this area, but be careful not to disturb them or their habitat. Patrick Connolly,, "Florida Fresh Air: Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake is meant for all types of recreation," 26 Mar. 2021 But her tortoise sunglasses, beaded mask chain, and Burberry Olympia bag made the fit feel whimsical and youthful. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Kendall Jenner Has a New Look for the Spring," 21 Mar. 2021 On the positive side the Metro Line continues its tortoise pace toward completion. Los Angeles Times, "It’s been one year. Here’s how our readers feel about L.A. now," 13 Mar. 2021 When the Fire’s MLS Is Back matches were broadcast on ESPN, Twitter couldn’t resist having fun, inventing stories about Wicky because of his tortoise shell frames and pompadour haircut. Jeremy Mikula,, "Raphael Wicky — a former ‘water carrier’ with a ‘California vibe’ — is tasked with getting the Chicago Fire back to playoffs. But despite a 1st season filled with struggles, he’s optimistic entering 2021.," 28 Feb. 2021 Unisex sizing fits ages 8 to 11 and comes in red and tortoise. Ana Sanchez,, "Best blue light glasses," 10 Mar. 2021 The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says staff found the tortoise while surveying wildfire damage in southern Utah. Mark Price Charlotte Observer, Star Tribune, "One of the world's slowest animals survived 2 massive wildfires," 8 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for tortoise

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for tortoise

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tortoise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of tortoise for Spanish Speakers

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

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