[ki-loh-nee-uh n]
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  1. a turtle.

Origin of chelonian

1820–30; < New Latin Cheloni(a) (< Greek chelṓn(ē) turtle + New Latin -ia, neuter plural noun suffix) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for chelonian

Historical Examples of chelonian

British Dictionary definitions for chelonian


  1. any reptile of the order Chelonia, including the tortoises and turtles, in which most of the body is enclosed in a protective bony capsule
  1. of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of the Chelonia

Word Origin for chelonian

C19: from New Latin Chelōnia, from Greek khelōnē tortoise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

chelonian in Science


  1. Any of various reptiles of the order Chelonia (or Testudines), which includes the turtles and tortoises. Chelonians lack teeth and usually have a hard shell that protects the body and consists of bony plates fused to the vertebrae and ribs. Unlike all other living reptiles, the skulls of chelonians lack temporal openings, which is characteristic of the earliest known reptiles (called anapsids). Chelonians evolved during the late Permian or Triassic Period and have changed little since.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.