I. noun Date: 1632 1. the mottled horny substance of the shell of the hawksbill turtle used especially formerly in inlaying and in making various ornamental articles 2. any of several showy nymphalid butterflies (genera Nymphalis and Aglais) II. adjective Date: 1651 1. made of or resembling tortoiseshell especially in mottled brown and yellow coloring <
tortoiseshell glasses
2. of, relating to, or being a color pattern of the domestic cat consisting of patches of black, orange, and cream

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Tortoiseshell — can refer to: tortoiseshell material, made primarily from the shell of the Hawksbill turtle Tortoiseshell cat, a pattern used in clothing and jewellery tortoiseshell butterflies, brush footed butterflies (Nymphalidae) in the genera Aglais and… …   Wikipedia

  • tortoiseshell — ► NOUN 1) the semi transparent mottled yellow and brown shell of certain turtles, used to make jewellery or ornaments. 2) a domestic cat with markings resembling tortoiseshell. 3) a butterfly with mottled orange, yellow, and black markings …   English terms dictionary

  • tortoiseshell — [tôrt′əsshel΄] n. 1. the hard, mottled, yellow and brown shell of some turtles and tortoises, used in inlaying and, esp. formerly, in making combs, frames for eyeglasses, etc. 2. a synthetic substance made in imitation of this 3. a mottled,… …   English World dictionary

  • tortoiseshell — /tawr teuhs shel /, n. Also, tortoise shell. 1. a horny substance of a mottled brown and yellow coloration, composing the laminae that cover the inner body plates of the carapace of a hawksbill turtle, used for making combs and ornamental… …   Universalium

  • tortoiseshell — n. & adj. n. 1 the yellowish brown mottled or clouded outer shell of some turtles, used for decorative hair combs, jewellery, etc. 2 a = tortoiseshell cat. b = tortoiseshell butterfly. adj. having the colouring or appearance of tortoiseshell.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • tortoiseshell — [[t]tɔ͟ː(r)təsʃel[/t]] tortoiseshells 1) N UNCOUNT Tortoiseshell is the hard shell of a kind of sea turtle. It is brown and yellow in colour and is often polished and used to make jewellery and ornaments. 2) ADJ: usu ADJ n Tortoiseshell means… …   English dictionary

  • tortoiseshell — /ˈtɔtəʃɛl / (say tawtuhshel) noun 1. the horny substance, with a mottled or clouded yellow and brown colouration, composing the plates or scales that cover the marine tortoiseshell turtle, of the genus Eretmochelys, formerly used for making combs …   Australian English dictionary

  • tortoiseshell — tor•toise•shell [[t]ˈtɔr təsˌʃɛl[/t]] n. Also, tor′toise shell . 1) ram the horny brown and yellow layer on the outer surface of the hawksbill turtle s carapace, used for making combs and ornamental articles 2) any synthetic substance made to… …   From formal English to slang

  • tortoiseshell — noun 1》 the semi transparent mottled yellow and brown shell of certain turtles, typically used to make jewellery or ornaments.     ↘a synthetic imitation of this. 2》 a domestic cat with markings resembling tortoiseshell. 3》 a butterfly with… …   English new terms dictionary

  • tortoiseshell — UK [ˈtɔː(r)təsˌʃel] / US [ˈtɔrtəsˌʃel] noun Word forms tortoiseshell : singular tortoiseshell plural tortoiseshells 1) [uncountable] the hard shell of a type of turtle that is brown and orange and is used for making things, for example jewellery… …   English dictionary

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