Doug Barton dougb at
Tue Jun 17 21:54:38 CEST 2014

On 06/17/2014 12:14 PM, Robert J. Hansen wrote:
>> I was going to suggest a hedgehog (it's likeable, generally favours security
>> over speed, and knows to protect itself), but a terrapin sounds great. Now I
>> just have to find out the difference between a terrapin and a turtle…
> The Algonquin tribe of Native Americans, originally living in Virginia,
> had a word for turtle: "torope".  American settlers adopted this word
> and over the last 400 years it's been corrupted into "terrapin."  As a
> result, "terrapin" has become a common American synonym for "turtle,"
> but the word's rarely used in the rest of the world.

Your etymology may be correct, as well as the common usage; but in 
zoology a turtle is an animal that lives only in the water, a tortoise 
is an animal that lives only on the land, and a terrapin moves between 
the two.


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