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

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 The United States had positioned itself as recognizing Denmark's territorial claim and Greenland's autonomy, while some other nations have advocated for the island's full independence, said Rasmussen. Author: Rick Noack, Claire Parker, Anchorage Daily News, "Greenland to Trump: We are not for sale," 16 Aug. 2019 That’s because affiliated professional baseball has a set of obscure territorial rights rules that would require Larry Lucchino’s PawSox ownership group to sign off on a new team coming to Pawtucket, or most of Rhode Island for that matter. Dan Mcgowan, BostonGlobe.com, "Why replacing the PawSox is easier said than done," 11 July 2019 The flare-up over the airline websites showed that the Chinese government has its own acute sensitivities, especially over territorial issues — even in the obscure lists of countries and regions found on airline websites. New York Times, "‘Orwellian Nonsense’? China Says That’s the Price of Doing Business," 6 May 2018 Political conflicts aren’t just restricted to territorial issues, as Marriott discovered this week even after apologizing for its website incident. Angus Whitley, Bloomberg.com, "Big Business Is Scrambling to Conform With China’s World View," 16 Jan. 2018 Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Reuters, Fortune, "Qantas Airways Has Changed Its Website After a Warning From China," 16 Jan. 2018 The maritime and territorial disputes with Beijing have roiled the region. Los Angeles Times, "Pompeo seeks to restore U.S. influence in Southeast Asia amid China’s rise," 1 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

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for territorial

The first known use of territorial was in 1625

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More Definitions for territorial



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

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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