Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

territory

play
noun ter·ri·to·ry \ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē\

Simple Definition of territory

  • : an area of land that belongs to or is controlled by a government

  • : one of the parts of the United States that is not a state

  • : any one of the large parts that some countries are divided into

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of territory

plural

-ries

  1. 1a :  a geographic area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a governmental authorityb :  an administrative subdivision of a countryc :  a part of the United States not included within any state but organized with a separate legislatured :  a geographic area (as a colonial possession) dependent on an external government but having some degree of autonomy

  2. 2a :  an indeterminate geographic areab :  a field of knowledge or interest

  3. 3a :  an assigned area; especially :  one in which a sales representative or distributor operatesb :  an area often including a nesting or denning site and a variable foraging range that is occupied and defended by an animal or group of animals

go with the territory

or

come with the territory

  1. :  to be a natural or unavoidable aspect or accompaniment of a particular situation, position, or field <criticism goes with the territory in this job>

Examples of territory in a sentence

  1. Those mountains are in Mexican territory.

  2. Guam is a U.S. territory.

  3. The birds are busy establishing territories and building nests.

  4. Male cats spray to mark territory.

  5. The goal of the expedition is to map unexplored territory.



Origin and Etymology of territory

Middle English, from Latin territorium, literally, land around a town, from terra land — more at terrace


First Known Use: 14th century



TERRITORY Defined for Kids

territory

play
noun ter·ri·to·ry \ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē\

Definition of territory for Students

plural

territories

  1. 1 :  a geographical area belonging to or under the rule of a government

  2. 2 :  a part of the United States not included within any state but organized with a separate governing body

  3. 3 :  region 1, district

  4. 4 :  an area that is occupied and defended by an animal or group of animals



Word Root of territory

The Latin word terra, meaning “earth,” “land,” or “ground,” gives us the root terr. Words from the Latin terra have something to do with the earth or land. A territory is an area of land ruled by a particular government. A terrace is a piece of land with a flat top. Anything terrestrial lives on land and not in water.


Law Dictionary

territory

play
noun ter·ri·to·ry \ˈter-ə-ˌtōr-ē\

Legal Definition of territory

plural

territories

  1. 1 :  a geographical area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a governmental authority

  2. 2 :  a political subdivision of a country

  3. 3 :  a part of the U.S. (as Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands) not included within any state but organized with a separate legislature — compare trust territory

territorial

\ˌter-ə-ˈtōr-ē-əl\ play adjective

territorially

adverb




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up territory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or near a shore

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

megillah torrent rebellion interruption
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ