ter·ri·to·ri·al | \ˌter-ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əl \

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 \ adverb

Examples of territorial in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

After some territorial squabbling, relationships are formed. Story Hinckley, The Christian Science Monitor, "Group effort rules the roost in Wyoming, then Washington intervenes," 10 July 2018 At issue is the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. Evelyn Farkas, Time, "How Trump Could Actually Make the Summit with Putin a Success," 9 July 2018 Each step gradually erodes Europe’s territorial principle for asylum. The Economist, "Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz," 5 July 2018 The mining company left behind a hole in Bonanza Peak, several ghost towns, and an anti-monopoly streak in Alaska's territorial politics. Tom Kizzia, Anchorage Daily News, "Amid the ruins of the Kennecott mine, a quiet new look at a unique slice of history," 26 June 2018 Negotiations remain that will affect who among the veterans will qualify, notably definitions of territorial seas and Vietnam boundaries. Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Congress considering benefits for Navy vets with Agent Orange exposure," 2 June 2018 Given that Wilson has backed the NBA to Seattle effort, and is the certifiable face of the city, could the Mariners really make the distance of a three-hour drive to Portland that big of a territorial stink? John Canzano, OregonLive.com, "Canzano: Major League move not only for Russell Wilson and Ciara, but for Portland," 1 June 2018 Wasp Prevention Many flying predators are quite territorial and will not start a new nest within a couple of hundred feet of an existing nest. Jean Nick, Good Housekeeping, "How To Wasp-Proof Your Backyard For Outdoor Summer Living," 21 June 2017 July marks the tail end of mating season, when the reptiles are particularly aggressive and territorial, sheriff's office spokesman Fred Jones told The Post on Tuesday. Alex Horton, Anchorage Daily News, "An alligator trapped a teenage girl in a tree. Then a deputy arrived with an AR-15.," 4 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to territorial

territorial dispute

the Territorial Army

Statistics for territorial

Last Updated

18 Oct 2018

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 \

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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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).


one that holds something together

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