nounpl. -·toises or -·toise
Origin of tortoiseMiddle English tortuce from Medieval Latin tortuca, altered (prob. by associated, association with Classical Latin tortus, twisted) from Vulgar Latin an unverified form tartaruca from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Late Greek tartarouchos, evil demon, origin, originally , controlling Tartarus
- Any of various terrestrial turtles, especially one of the family Testudinidae, characteristically having thick clublike hind limbs and a high, rounded carapace.
- One that moves slowly; a laggard.
Origin of tortoiseMiddle English tortuce turtle, tortoise probably partly from Anglo-Norman tortouse ( variant of Old French tortue ) and partly from Medieval Latin tortūca both ultimately from Vulgar Latin tartarūca feminine of *tartarūcus of Tartarus ; see turtle 1.
Middle English tortuse, tortuce, tortuge, from Medieval Latin tortuca, possibly from Late Latin tartarÅ«cha, from Late Latin tartarÅ«chus (“of Tartarus"), from Ancient Greek Ï„Î±ÏÏ„Î±ÏÎ¿á¿¦Ï‡Î¿Ï‚ (tartarouchos, “from Tartaros, Tartarus, the land of the dead in ancient stories"), because it used to be thought that tortoises and turtles came from the underworld; or from Latin tortus (“twisted").