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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

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

  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 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


noun ter·ri·to·ry \ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē\

Definition of territory

plural ter·ri·to·ries

  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.

Seen and Heard

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February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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