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