1. usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant-like limbs
; worldwide in arid area except Australia and Antarctica
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Tortoise \Tor"toise\, n. [OE. tortuce, fr. OF. tortis crooked,
fr. L. tortus twisted, crooked, contorted, p. p. of torquere,
tortum, to wind; cf. F. tortue tortoise, LL. tortuca,
tartuca, Pr. tortesa crookedness, tortis crooked. so called
in allusion to its crooked feet. See Torture.]
1. (Zool.) Any one of numerous species of reptiles of the
Note: The term is applied especially to the land and
fresh-water species, while the marine species are
generally called turtles, but the terms tortoise and
turtle are used synonymously by many writers. See
Testudinata, Terrapin, and Turtle.
2. (Rom. Antiq.) Same as Testudo, 2.
Box tortoise, Land tortoise, etc. See under Box,
Painted tortoise. (Zool.) See Painted turtle, under
Soft-shell tortoise. (Zool.) See Trionyx.
Spotted tortoise. (Zool.) A small American fresh-water
tortoise (Chelopus guttatus or Nanemys guttatus)
having a blackish carapace on which are scattered round
Tortoise beetle (Zool.), any one of numerous species of
small tortoise-shaped beetles. Many of them have a
brilliant metallic luster. The larvae feed upon the leaves
of various plants, and protect themselves beneath a mass
of dried excrement held over the back by means of the
caudal spines. The golden tortoise beetle (Cassida
aurichalcea) is found on the morning-glory vine and
Tortoise plant. (Bot.) See Elephant's foot, under
Tortoise shell, the substance of the shell or horny plates
of several species of sea turtles, especially of the
hawkbill turtle. It is used in inlaying and in the
manufacture of various ornamental articles.
Tortoise-shell butterfly (Zool.), any one of several
species of handsomely colored butterflies of the genus
Aglais, as Aglais Milberti, and Aglais urticae, both
of which, in the larva state, feed upon nettles.
Tortoise-shell turtle (Zool.), the hawkbill turtle. See
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant-
like limbs; worldwide in arid area except Australia and
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
32 Moby Thesaurus words for "tortoise":
alligator, crocodile, crocodilian, dawdle, dawdler, dinosaur,
drone, foot-dragger, gator, goldbrick, goof-off, laggard, lie-abed,
lingerer, lizard, loiterer, plodder, procrastinator, reptile,
reptilian, saurian, sleepyhead, slow goer, slow-foot, slowbelly,
slowpoke, slug, sluggard, snail, stick-in-the-mud, terrapin,
Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary:
(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_.
The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906):
TORTOISE, n. A creature thoughtfully created to supply occasion for
the following lines by the illustrious Ambat Delaso:
TO MY PET TORTOISE
My friend, you are not graceful -- not at all;
Your gait's between a stagger and a sprawl.
Nor are you beautiful: your head's a snake's
To look at, and I do not doubt it aches.
As to your feet, they'd make an angel weep.
'Tis true you take them in whene'er you sleep.
No, you're not pretty, but you have, I own,
A certain firmness -- mostly you're [sic] backbone.
Firmness and strength (you have a giant's thews)
Are virtues that the great know how to use --
I wish that they did not; yet, on the whole,
You lack -- excuse my mentioning it -- Soul.
So, to be candid, unreserved and true,
I'd rather you were I than I were you.
Perhaps, however, in a time to be,
When Man's extinct, a better world may see
Your progeny in power and control,
Due to the genesis and growth of Soul.
So I salute you as a reptile grand
Predestined to regenerate the land.
Father of Possibilities, O deign
To accept the homage of a dying reign!
In the far region of the unforeknown
I dream a tortoise upon every throne.
I see an Emperor his head withdraw
Into his carapace for fear of Law;
A King who carries something else than fat,
Howe'er acceptably he carries that;
A President not strenuously bent
On punishment of audible dissent --
Who never shot (it were a vain attack)
An armed or unarmed tortoise in the back;
Subject and citizens that feel no need
To make the March of Mind a wild stampede;
All progress slow, contemplative, sedate,
And "Take your time" the word, in Church and State.
O Tortoise, 'tis a happy, happy dream,
My glorious testudinous regime!
I wish in Eden you'd brought this about
By slouching in and chasing Adam out.