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Related to turtle: tortoise, Turtle Beach
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turn turtle

To turn upside down; to flip over. This phrase is often used to describe overturned boats or ships. You need to wear a life jacket because there's always a chance that the boat could turn turtle.
See also: turn, turtle

turtle head

1. To pop one's head up behind or out from within something, in a manner resembling a turtle's head emerging from its shell. Everyone started turtle heading in their cubicles to see where the music was coming from. People around the campsite began to turtle head from their tents to see what was happening.
2. vulgar slang To need to defecate so badly that one's feces begin to come out through the anus involuntarily. I need to find a bathroom now—I'm starting to turtle head! I was turtle heading by the time we finally got to a rest stop.
See also: head, turtle


slang The foreskin of the penis. An allusion to a type of sweater with a high, tubular, close-fitting collar. At first I assumed we'd get our son circumcised, but the doctors said there was no reason to get rid of his little turtleneck.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

turn turtle

Fig. to turn upside down. (See also turn belly up.) The sailboat turned turtle, but the sailors only got wet. The car ran off the road and turned turtle in the ditch.
See also: turn, turtle
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

turn turtle

Capsize, turn upside down, as in When they collided, the car turned turtle. This expression alludes to the helplessness of a turtle turned on its back, where its shell can no longer protect it. [First half of 1800s]
See also: turn, turtle
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

turn turtle

If a boat turns turtle, it turns upside down in the water. The boat nearly turned turtle twice, but I managed to keep her upright. Note: Turtles are helpless when they are turned onto their backs.
See also: turn, turtle
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

turn turtle

turn upside down.
If a turtle is flipped over on to its back, it becomes helpless and unable to move. The phrase has long been used figuratively of inanimate objects, especially boats, that have turned upside down or overturned.
1990 Stephen King The Stand His tractor turned turtle on him and killed him.
See also: turn, turtle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

turn ˈturtle

(of a boat) turn upside down: We turned turtle right in front of everybody at the yacht club. It was so embarrassing.
This expression refers to the fact that if a turtle is turned on its back, it is helpless and unable to move.
See also: turn, turtle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

turn turtle

in. to turn over, as with a ship. The old dog finally turned turtle, and that was the end.
See also: turn, turtle

turtle heading

n. popping up and down in an office cubicle, looking at what’s going on in the rest of the office. (see also prairie dog.) Everybody was turtle heading, trying to see what was happening in Willy’s cubicle.
See also: heading, turtle


n. the penile foreskin. (A play on the type of collar.) He’s talking to the doctor about getting rid of his little turtle-neck.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

turn turtle, to

To capsize or overturn. This term comes from the helplessness of a turtle turned onto its shell-covered back, exposing its soft legs and body to danger. The metaphor, at first used for a capsized ship and later for any overturned endeavor, dates from the first half of the nineteenth century. Describing an early motor accident, the Daily News had it, “An engine and two trucks had turned turtle on the embankment” (July 9, 1896; cited by the OED).
See also: to, turn
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Since 2011, nearly 100 Hawksbill turtles have laid eggs at the shoreline with almost 7,000 baby turtles starting their lives at Al Taweelah.
The turtle's life might have been saved if diagnosis was made earlier, he added.
Because the sex of a baby turtle is determined by the temperature of the sand in which the egg incubates, climate change is expected to skew the ratio between male and female turtles toward more females.
CORAL ASSEMBLAGES"One of the efforts by LaMCoT is the Kiweni Coral, 471 acres of coral assemblages under protection as turtle foraging zone and spill over where the local dhow operators have been taking guests for snorkelling which earns them income as well as helps in conservation.
The findings of the study were released on World Turtle Day, marked every year on May 23.
The green turtle is the only "vegetarian" sea turtle, eating mostly seagrass and algae, which relates to its ecological importance.
Summary: Research by Emirates Nature-WWF and partners shows turtles belong to no single nation
Hawksbill turtle numbers were far lower than green turtle counts, indicating that many conservation threats still exist for this species.
"Understanding sea turtle behavior, lifecycle, and the impact that humans have had on them is crucial to finding longterm solutions to the treats they face."
In 2018, a total of 3,126 turtle hatchlings were produced from 95 nests laid on the beaches of Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, with 51 hawksbill turtle nests and 44 green turtle nests.
In several villages, the turtle eggs are eventually being taken care of by residents, saving the species from extinction.
Turtles just don't receive the same level of attention as cute and cuddly species like pandas.
As no such turtle has been described in the books of science, the animal has been classified as a completely new species.
View Scopes: Akre (2002) recommended the use of view scope as very helpful tool in viewing submerged turtle in ponds.
The Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grille has announced that its restaurants have gone straw-free in an effort to protect marine life.