ter·​ri·​to·​ri·​al | \ ˌter-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce territorial (audio) \

Definition of territorial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a territory territorial government
b : of or relating to or organized chiefly for home defense
c : of or relating to private property
2a : exhibiting or involving territoriality territorial birds
b : of or relating to an assigned or preempted area territorial commanders
3a : nearby, local
b : serving outlying areas : regional



Definition of territorial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of a territorial military unit

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Other Words from territorial


territorially \ ˌter-​ə-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce territorially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of territorial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That is a hallmark of unneutered male cats, who are also very territorial and tend to be more aggressive, especially to strangers. The Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax Live: 'The cat is your guardian angel'," 25 Jan. 2019 The unlikely foster family was documented by the Loon Project, which since 1993 has studied common loons and their territorial behavior in northern Wisconsin. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Loons in northern Wisconsin are raising a mallard duckling after they lost their own chick," 24 July 2019 But Syria has already called the plan a violation of its sovereignty and Russia emphasized the need to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity. Carlotta Gall, New York Times, "Turkey’s Radical Plan: Send a Million Refugees Back to Syria," 10 Sep. 2019 But China's actions in both cases were in violation of the United Nations charter barring force to threaten another nation's territorial integrity, Pedroza claims, and not valid to assert sovereignty. Brad Lendon, CNN, "The tiny islands that could explode the China-Vietnam relationship," 29 Aug. 2019 This led a segment of the American elite to regard these culturally isolated French speakers as a potential threat to the territorial integrity of the United States—pawns, conspiracy theorists said, in a Catholic plot to subvert the U.S. Northeast. David Vernette, Smithsonian, "When an Influx of French-Canadian Immigrants Struck Fear Into Americans," 21 Aug. 2019 The announcement comes nearly four years after roughly 200 members of rival motorcycle clubs descended on the Waco strip-mall parking lot, allegedly to settle a territorial dispute. The Washington Post, oregonlive, "All charges dropped in Waco biker shootout that left 9 dead, 177 arrested," 3 Apr. 2019 The Giants’ territorial rights to Santa Clara County 3. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Giants reportedly laugh at Bay Bridge Trophy after winning it with sweep over Athletics," 27 Aug. 2019 The complicated deal awarded a much larger percentage of the MASN profits to the Orioles in exchange for the franchise to drop its territorial claim to the Washington market and allow MLB to relocate the Montreal Expos to the nation’s capital. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Judge upholds arbitration ruling that Orioles owe Nationals $296.8 million in MASN TV rights dispute," 23 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

TERRITORIAL Most nations aim to impose taxes on economic activity that takes place within their borders. N. Gregory Mankiw, New York Times, "How Best to Tax Business," 21 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'territorial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of territorial


1625, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1907, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for territorial

Last Updated

18 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for territorial

The first known use of territorial was in 1625

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English Language Learners Definition of territorial

: of or relating to land or water that is owned or controlled by a government
used to describe animals or people that try to keep others away from an area that they use or control


ter·​ri·​to·​ri·​al | \ ˌter-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce territorial (audio) \

Kids Definition of territorial

1 : of or relating to a territory a territorial government
2 : displaying behavior associated with defending an animal's territory My dog is very territorial.

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More from Merriam-Webster on territorial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with territorial

Spanish Central: Translation of territorial

Nglish: Translation of territorial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of territorial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on territorial

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to be made up of

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