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tortoise

[tawr-tuh s] /ˈtɔr təs/
noun
1.
a turtle, especially a terrestrial turtle.
2.
a very slow person or thing.
3.
testudo (def 1).
Origin of tortoise
1350-1400
1350-1400; variant of earlier (15th-century) tortuse, tortose, tortuce, Middle English tortuca < Medieval Latin tortūca, for Late Latin tartarūcha (feminine adj.) of Tartarus (< Greek tartaroûcha), the tortoise being regarded as an infernal animal; Medieval Latin form influenced by Latin tortus crooked, twisted (see tort)
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for tortoise
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The first lawyer, you know, was a waif that was adopted by a tortoise and a fox.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • I had, too, and I own it was absurd, a tortoise named Chrysagre.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Jimmy Kinsella sat on a stone with his back to the party in the tortoise.

    Priscilla's Spies George A. Birmingham
  • The tortoise in the right road will beat a racer in the wrong.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • Priscilla, rowing with short, decisive strokes, drove the tortoise forward.

    Priscilla's Spies George A. Birmingham
  • With these words he took his tortoise on his back and went off.

British Dictionary definitions for tortoise

tortoise

/ˈtɔːtəs/
noun
1.
any herbivorous terrestrial chelonian reptile of the family Testudinidae, of most warm regions, having a heavy dome-shaped shell and clawed limbs related adjectives chelonian testudinal
2.
water tortoise, another name for terrapin
3.
a slow-moving person
4.
another word for testudo See also giant tortoise
Word Origin
C15: probably from Old French tortue (influenced by Latin tortus twisted), from Medieval Latin tortūca, from Late Latin tartarūcha coming from Tartarus, from Greek tartaroukhos; referring to the belief that the tortoise originated in the underworld
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tortoise
n.

1550s, altered (perhaps by influence of porpoise) from Middle English tortuse (late 15c.), tortuce (mid-15c.), tortuge (late 14c.), from Medieval Latin tortuca (mid-13c.), perhaps from Late Latin tartaruchus "of the underworld" (see turtle). Others propose a connection with Latin tortus "twisted," based on the shape of the feet. The classical Latin word was testudo, from testa "shell." First record of tortoise shell as a coloring pattern is from 1782.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tortoise in the Bible

(Heb. tsabh). Ranked among the unclean animals (Lev. 11:29). Land tortoises are common in Syria. The LXX. renders the word by "land crocodile." The word, however, more probably denotes a lizard, called by the modern Arabs _dhabb_.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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