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Related to turtle: tortoise, Turtle Beach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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: turn
References in periodicals archive ?
On December 9, 120 baby turtles were released to the sea from the same beach.
Turtles and manatees swallow the toxins along with their food or inhale them, according to the (http://insider.
Our driver and Cuban guide, Alejandro, expertly navigated the mountain roads, passing horse-drawn carts on the six-hour journey to the western-most tip of Cuba," Zirkelbach writes on the Turtle Hospital's website (www.
He warned fishermen to be more careful and if they realise they have a turtle in their nets they should set it free.
Only 14 (15%) of 95 patients who reported turtle exposure during the 2012 outbreaks were aware that reptiles could carry Salmonella bacteria (17).
Burj Al Arab aquarium operations manager Warren Baverstock said: "We are extremely proud to celebrate World Sea Turtle Day by releasing 100 rehabilitated sea turtles back into their environment.
Hamad Naqi Khan, Director General WWF-Pakistan, in a message on World Turtle Day said that, Illegal trade of turtles in Pakistan is hampering the population of species, which is affecting ecosystem services that freshwater turtles provide.
Weighed down by barnacles, scores of hawksbill turtles wash up ashore during winter months.
This didn't stop hungry Indians and desperate pioneers from risking their lives using the box turtle or its eggs for dinner.
It was only when his friends advised him to drink turtle oil for one month that he was cured.
We do see turtles that have been struck or crushed but we have not seen a case as bad as this before," said Baverstock, who has led turtle rehabilitation work in the emirate.
But one by one, a band of green sea turtles and one loggerhead turtle emerged from the sea and lumbered around the beach looking for perfect nesting spots.
With the completion of the new Quriyat-Sur highway, access to the Ras Al-Jinz Turtle Reserve has never been so easy.
Focusing just beyond shore, his eyes settled on a lifeless sea turtle bobbing in the waves.