Other Word Forms of Tortoise
Origin of Tortoise
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 ταρταροῦχος (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").
Middle 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 turtle1
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
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