(Science: zoology) Any one of numerous species of tortoises living in fresh and brackish waters. Many of them are valued for food.
Alternative forms: terapin, terrapen, terrapene, and turapen.
The yellow-bellied terrapin (Pseudemys acebra) of the southern united states, the red-bellied terrapin (Pseudemys rugosa), native of the tributaries Chesapeake bay (called also potter, slider, and redfender), and the diamond-back or salt–marsh terrapin (Malaclemmys palustris), are the most important American species. The diamond-back terrapin is native of nearly the whole of the atlantic coast of the United States. Alligator terrapin, the snapping turtle. Mud terrapin, any one of numerous species of American tortoises of the genus Cinosternon. Painted terrapin, the painted turtle. See Painted. Speckled terrapin, a small fresh water American terrapin (Chelopus guttatus) having the carapace black with round yellow spots.
Synonym: spotted turtle.
Origin: Probably of American Indian origin.