—turtler, n.n.1. any 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.2. (not used technically) an aquatic turtle as distinguished from a terrestrial one. Cf. tortoise (def. 1).3. turn turtle,a. Naut. to capsize or turn over completely in foundering.b. to overturn; upset: Several of the cars turned turtle in the course of the race.v.i.4. to catch turtles, esp. as a business.[1625-35; alter. (influenced by TURTLE2) of F tortue < ML tortuca TORTOISE]turtle2/terr"tl/, n. Archaic.a turtledove.[bef. 1000; ME, OE < L turtur (imit.)]
* * *IAny of more than 250 species (order Chelonia) of reptiles having a bony shell overlaid with horny shields; found in most parts of the world.Turtles have existed for 200 million years, making them the oldest of all surviving reptiles. Most species are aquatic or semiaquatic; some are terrestrial. Turtles eat plants, animals, or both. They are toothless, have a horny beak, and range from less than 4 in. (10 cm) to more than 7 ft (2 m) long. They have sturdy, sprawling limbs with short feet or paddlelike flippers (marine turtles). Some species bend the neck sideways, but most pull the head and neck backward into the shell. Almost half the known turtle species are rare, threatened, or endangered. See also box turtle, painted turtle, snapping turtle, softshell turtle, terrapin, tortoise.II(as used in expressions)
* * *one-man submarine, the first to be put to military use, built and designed by the American inventor David Bushnell (Bushnell, David) (q.v.) in 1775 for use against British warships. The pear-shaped vessel, made of oak reinforced with iron bands, measured about 2.3 m (7.5 feet) long by 1.8 m (6 feet) wide. It was equipped with a mine that was to be attached to the hull of an enemy ship. In 1776, in New York harbour, the Turtle tried to sink the British warship HMS Eagle but failed; none of its succeeding missions was successful.
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