Definition of turn turtle in US English:

turn turtle


  • (chiefly of a boat) capsize.

    • ‘Riddled with bullet holes, the flat-bottomed vessel sank, turning turtle as it did so and settling on the 7m bottom.’
    • ‘The Bismark's excellent fire control and high rate of fire finally shredded Prince of Wales, which slowly turned turtle and sank.’
    • ‘The Hampshire has turned turtle with much of the bows broken up where she hit the mine on that fateful day back in 1916.’
    • ‘Kevin bellows instructions, and in quick time we exit the boat, turn turtle and fin towards the edge of the drop-off.’
    • ‘The Kléber sank swiftly, turning turtle as she went.’
    • ‘Four minutes later the ship turned turtle and sank.’
    • ‘Top-heavy, like all battleships, the Nagato turned turtle before leaving daylight behind.’
    • ‘But en route at Chavara the ambulance met with an accident and turned turtle.’
    • ‘The ship turned turtle and people went out on horses to save survivors.’
    • ‘She had turned turtle and capsized and those who were not able to get out in the first few hours were surely trapped for good.’
    overturn, turn over, tip over, roll over, upturn, capsize, turn topsy-turvy
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