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tortoises

2 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Tortoise \Tor"toise\, noun [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 order {Testudinata}.

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}, {Land}, etc.

{Painted tortoise}. (Zool.) See {Painted turtle}, under {Painted}.

{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 yellow spots.

{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 allied plants.

{Tortoise plant}. (Bot.) See {Elephant's foot}, under {Elephant}.

{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 {Hawkbill}.

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

tortoise

noun

1: usually herbivorous land turtles having clawed elephant- like limbs; worldwide in arid area except Australia and Antarctica


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