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. (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of reptiles of the order {Testudinata}. [1913 Webster]

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}. [1913 Webster]

2. (Rom. Antiq.) Same as {Testudo}, 2. [1913 Webster]

{Box tortoise}, {Land tortoise}, etc. See under {Box}, {Land}, etc.

{Painted tortoise}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Painted turtle}, under {Painted}.

{Soft-shell tortoise}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Trionyx}.

{Spotted tortoise}. (Zo["o]l.) A small American fresh-water tortoise ({Chelopus guttatus} or {Nanemys guttatus}) having a blackish carapace on which are scattered round yellow spots.

{Tortoise beetle} (Zo["o]l.), any one of numerous species of small tortoise-shaped beetles. Many of them have a brilliant metallic luster. The larv[ae] 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} (Zo["o]l.), any one of several species of handsomely colored butterflies of the genus {Aglais}, as {Aglais Milberti}, and {Aglais urtic[ae]}, both of which, in the larva state, feed upon nettles.

{Tortoise-shell turtle} (Zo["o]l.), the hawkbill turtle. See {Hawkbill}. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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