Tes*tu"do (?), n.; pl. Testudines (#). [L., from testa the shell of shellfish, or of testaceous animals.]
A genus of tortoises which formerly included a large number of diverse forms, but is now restricted to certain terrestrial species, such as the European land tortoise (Testudo Graeca) and the gopher of the Southern United States.
2. Rom. Antiq.
A cover or screen which a body of troops formed with their shields or targets, by holding them over their heads when standing close to each other. This cover resembled the back of a tortoise, and served to shelter the men from darts, stones, and other missiles. A similar defense was sometimes formed of boards, and moved on wheels.
A kind of musical instrument. a species of lyre; -- so called in allusion to the lyre of Mercury, fabled to have been made of the shell of a tortoise.
© Webster 1913.