- a turtle, especially a terrestrial turtle.
- a very slow person or thing.
- testudo(def 1).
- any herbivorous terrestrial chelonian reptile of the family Testudinidae, of most warm regions, having a heavy dome-shaped shell and clawed limbsRelated adjectives: chelonian, testudinal
- water tortoise another name for terrapin
- a slow-moving person
- another word for testudo See also giant tortoise
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.