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
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 There were notable accomplishments, such as reengagement with Myanmar, upgraded relations with several other Southeast Asian countries, and a clarification of the U.S. position supporting Japan over a territorial row with China. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "Barack Obama’s Legacy Abroad Looms Over Joe Biden," 17 Nov. 2020 The settlement would deny territorial contiguity to parts of East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want to make their capital. Adam Rasgon, New York Times, "Reassured by Biden Win, Palestinians Will Resume Cooperation With Israel," 17 Nov. 2020 On Thursday, Biden spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and said that the U.S. would guarantee military support to Japan’s territorial claims over the Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea. Fortune, "‘We respect the choice of the American people:’ Beijing finally congratulates Biden on beating Trump," 13 Nov. 2020 Issues around the coronavirus pandemic, arms sales to Taiwan, territorial claims in the South China Sea and Beijing's growing international assertiveness, will likely continue to be on the agenda for in-coming Biden. NBC News, "China congratulates President-elect Joe Biden on White House win — eventually," 13 Nov. 2020 Azeri troops had made significant territorial gains last week. Neil Hauer, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Nagorno-Karabakh ‘peace,’ a bitter conflict remains unresolved," 12 Nov. 2020 An Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity per regulations, said the helicopter crashed over Red Sea waters outside Egyptian territorial boundaries. Josef Federman, USA TODAY, "Peacekeeping force says 8 people killed, 6 of them Americans, in Egypt helicopter crash," 12 Nov. 2020 The Reuters report said Russian began deploying 1,960 troops and Azerbaijan will be able to keep its territorial gains. Fox News, "Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia sign peace deal over Nagorno-Karabakh: reports," 10 Nov. 2020 Pierluisi received nearly 33% of votes compared with nearly 32% obtained by Carlos Delgado of the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the current territorial status, with 100% of precincts reporting. DÁnica Coto, Star Tribune, "Pedro Pierluisi wins gubernatorial race in Puerto Rico," 7 Nov. 2020 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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Time Traveler for territorial

Time Traveler

The first known use of territorial was in 1625

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Statistics for territorial

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Territorial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/territorial. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for territorial


How to pronounce territorial (audio)

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on territorial

Nglish: Translation of territorial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of territorial for Arabic Speakers

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