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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

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.
Officials surmised the turtles may have died as a result of toxic algae blooms known as red tides.
Members of the public are urged to report any sighting of sea turtles to the department via 1823.
For the first time, sea turtles in Cuba can now be tracked on their long journeys via satellite devices, thanks to technical assistance from a United States group that included Marathon attorney Richard E.
The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the loggerhead turtle and their eggs have been protected by law since 1971, as both turtles, especially the green, are endangered species.
The risk of acquiring a Salmonella infection from turtles has persisted and may be increasing, as suggested by a recent surge in the number of national salmonellosis outbreaks.
The release of the turtles, who had been rehabilitated at facilities within Burj Al Arab Jumeirah and Madinat Jumeirah as part of the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project (DTRP), brings the total number of turtles returned to the wild since the project began in 2004 to 1,090.
Freshwater turtles in Pakistan, like leopards, are protected under Schedule III of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Wildlife Protection laws and also being added in the revised wildlife protection act of Sindh.
ABU DHABI Over 60 hawksbill sea turtles are being treated at the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project Centre (DTRP) after washing up on UAE shores with Cold Stunning - a condition arising due to prolonged exposure to cold waters.
If you love turtles, you may be tempted to rescue it.
Although the cabinet has declared several areas in Yemen to be natural reserves, and the Yemeni government has ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1997, turtles along Yemen's shores continue to be exposed to severe threats.
Despite numerous projects in the UAE by ecological organisations to help increase natural stocks, some turtles are meeting their demise after either being caught in nets, ingesting garbage thrown into the water or after being struck by fast-moving motorboats.
Geological Survey, Hart didn't know if any nesting turtles would show up at the site that day.
These aren't here to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, but to watch green turtles lumbering up the shore to lay their eggs at night.