Definition of tortoise in English:

tortoise

noun

  • 1A turtle, typically a herbivorous one that lives on land.

    • ‘Therefore, though not excluding the presence of intrasexual selection in tortoise mating system, it seems likely that females are the choosy sex.’
    • ‘There the hippo immediately ran to Mzee, a 130-year-old Aldabran tortoise who resides at the Haller Park sanctuary.’
    • ‘Fortunately, it landed on the tortoise and established a strong bond.’
    • ‘Once she lays and buries her eggs, the female desert tortoise is finished with her parental role.’
    • ‘Land tortoises are vegetarian, eating leaves, grass, and in some cases even cactus.’
    • ‘I've been fascinated by tortoises and turtles for a long time and I collect tortoise / turtle knick-knacks and figurines.’
    • ‘The origin of turtles and tortoises from ancestral reptiles is still unclear.’
    • ‘But first, do you know the difference between a turtle and tortoise?’
    • ‘Persistence and tenacity, not to say downright stubbornness, are qualities that all tortoise owners will recognize.’
    • ‘This mechanism is consistent with G. agassizii's propensity to relax homeostasis and appears critical to desert tortoise survival and reproduction.’
    • ‘Currently, the group is in the midst of training dogs to find desert tortoise scat and hope to conduct testing this spring in Nevada.’
    • ‘A turtle lives in the water, a tortoise lives on land.’
    • ‘The strength of a unique male bond between a young hippopotamus and a 130-year-old tortoise will be tested later this spring when conservation workers introduce a female hippo to the mix.’
    • ‘However, patterns of rainfall and tortoise reproduction are different in the Sonoran Desert.’
    • ‘Hot on its heels is a seriously perturbed tortoise racing for the horizon in this Costa Rican forest.’
    • ‘Baby One Thousand, along with 64 tortoise brothers and sisters, is aboard, too, in a well-ventilated crate on deck.’
    • ‘Our goal was to place G. berlandieri in the greater context of turtle and tortoise life history strategies.’
    • ‘I shot one sequence of a small female tortoise foiling a large male's mating attempts by quickly spinning around under his huge shell - a behavior I'd seen many times but never before captured.’
    • ‘The tortoises, marine iguanas and land iguanas on the Galapagos Islands, studied by Charles Darwin, provide some of the most striking examples.’
    • ‘Here the King of the Jungle was a giant vegetarian tortoise, and there were no large predators of any kind.’
    1. 1.1informal Anything exceptionally slow-moving.
      ‘you are a tortoise on the uptake today’
      • ‘Normally the pavements were so crowded with prams and shopping trolleys and people stopping to chat, you had to walk in the road on the far side of parked cars if you wanted to progress at anything more than tortoise pace.’
  • 2

    another term for testudo
    • ‘It was also used by the Romans when they used what was known as a tortoise formation to move forward to a target that was well defended.’
    • ‘The children are also learning to march like a tortoise as the Romans did, with shields at their side and on top.’
    • ‘The testudo, the tortoise formation, involved raising the scutums into a shell.’
    • ‘Like the tortoise thing that the roman soldiers used to do…’

Origin

Late Middle English tortu, tortuce: from Old French tortue and Spanish tortuga, both from medieval Latin tortuca, of uncertain origin. The current spelling dates from the mid 16th century.

Pronunciation

tortoise

/ˈtôrdəs/