Tortoise shell
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.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tortoise shell — tortoise shell, 1. the mottled, yellow and brown shell of some turtles, especially the hawksbill turtle. It is much used for combs and ornaments. 2. any one of several butterflies spotted with yellow and black. 3. = tortoise shell cat. (Cf.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • tortoise-shell — ortoise shell, adj. Having a color like that of a tortoise s shell, black with white and orange spots; used mostly to describe cats of that color. n. a tortoise shell cat …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tortoise shell — noun The shell of a tortoise, sometimes inaccurately the shell of a turtle, or that material …   Wiktionary

  • tortoise-shell — carapace, hard shell which surrounds a tortoise …   English contemporary dictionary

  • tortoise-shell — n. Turtle shell …   New dictionary of synonyms

  • tortoise shell — Synonyms and related words: Dalmatian, antigorite, burele, butterfly, candy cane, chameleon, chatoyant, cheetah, chrysotile, confetti, crazy quilt, firedog, harlequin, iridal, iridescent, iridial, iridian, iris, irisated, irised, jaguar, leopard …   Moby Thesaurus

  • tortoise shell —    see …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • tortoise-shell —    see …   Glossary of Art Terms

  • tortoise-shell — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tortoise-shell butterfly — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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