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 Here, Hart plays Sonny Fisher, a stay-at-home dad who excels at caring for two cute kids (Che Tafari and Amentii Sledge); his high-powered architect wife, Maya (Regina Hall); and their pet tortoise. Michael O'sullivan, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2022 Inside a classroom, there's a 30-pound tortoise named Norm, a bunny that rides around in a stroller and a school dog. Rory Linnane, Journal Sentinel, 17 Aug. 2022 He was also prominently known as the proud father of his pet tortoise, Mikey. Anthony Demarco, Forbes, 22 May 2022 The tortoise, the largest cold-blooded terrestrial herbivore found on Earth, plays a critical role as an agent of stability in the Galapagos. Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, 31 Aug. 2022 There are about a dozen species of Galápagos Island tortoise — all of which are under threat, from vulnerable to critically endangered. Rachel Pannett, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2022 Now, archaeologists excavating the ancient city have found the remains of the 5.5-inch-long Hermann’s tortoise and her egg. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 June 2022 The lone small female tortoise was found living on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos archipelago in 2019. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 11 June 2022 The custom frames are made of lightweight, two-layered handmade acetate with cut-down designs of tortoise and crystal colors in a trendy round shape. Irene S. Levine, Forbes, 1 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near tortoise



tortoise beetle

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tortoise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for tortoise


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

Kids Definition of tortoise

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

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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