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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Five other governments have territorial claims that overlap with China’s in the strategically vital waterway. Christopher Bodeen, The Seattle Times, "Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea," 13 Jan. 2019 Air Defense Identification Zones are blocks of international airspace countries use to help defend their own territorial airspace. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "No, Russian Bombers Did Not Enter U.S. Airspace," 28 Jan. 2019 The bees are territorial and aggressive, and are known for their habit of swarming and attacking a victim repeatedly. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., The Seattle Times, "A cleaning lady went to her car to get a mop and was attacked by 80,000 bees," 17 July 2018 Lavrov also called for closer cooperation with Bosnia, pledging support for the country's territorial integrity. Radul Radovanovic, Fox News, "Lavrov says Russia won't interfere in Bosnia Oct. 7 election," 21 Sep. 2018 Despite its inheritance from British political culture, Mr. Lambert says, the United States embraced a territorial orientation, as if following Rome. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, "‘Seapower States’ Review: Ruling Over the Seas," 23 Nov. 2018 Some Greeks remain suspicious that Macedonia harbors territorial and historical claims to Macedonia province. Konstantin Testorides, Fox News, "Macedonia or North Macedonia? Vote tests a nation's identity," 28 Sep. 2018 As the territorial boundaries between humans and animals begin to overlap in cities, both sides are devising strategies for coexistence. Aditi Shrikant, BostonGlobe.com, "When wild animals urbanize," 13 July 2018 New territorial disputes with China—and China’s enormous military—have spurred Tokyo to develop certain types of these weapons, including a brigade of amphibious marines, meant to take back Japanese territory captured in wartime. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Japan Is Developing a Unique Supersonic Glide Weapon," 16 Oct. 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.

See More

First Known Use of territorial


1625, in the meaning defined at sense 3a


1907, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about territorial

Share territorial

Statistics for territorial

Last Updated

8 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for territorial

The first known use of territorial was in 1625

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!