- any of various aquatic chelonian reptiles, esp those of the marine family Chelonidae, having a flattened shell enclosing the body and flipper-like limbs adapted for swimming
- turn turtle ⇒ to capsize
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- Reptilesany of various water- and land-dwelling reptiles having the trunk enclosed in a shell.
- Nautical, Naval Termsturn turtle, to capsize or turn over completely.
- Reptilesany reptile of the order Testudines, comprising aquatic and terrestrial species having the trunk enclosed in a shell consisting of a dorsal carapace and a ventral plastron.
- Reptiles(not used technically) an aquatic turtle as distinguished from a terrestrial one. Cf. tortoise (def. 1).
- turn turtle:
- Naval Terms[Naut.]to capsize or turn over completely in foundering.
- to overturn;
upset:Several of the cars turned turtle in the course of the race.
- to catch turtles, esp. as a business.
- Medieval Latin tortūca tortoise
- alteration (influenced by turtle2) of French tortue 1625–35
tur•tle2 (tûr′tl),USA pronunciation n. [Archaic.]
- a turtledove.
- Latin turtur (imitative)
- Middle English, Old English bef. 1000
- an archaic name for turtledove