territorial waters

plural noun

: the waters under the sovereign jurisdiction of a nation or state including both marginal sea and inland waters

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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The drills in six zones targeting Taiwan from all sides put the Chinese military maneuvers closer than ever to the shores of Taiwan’s main island, encroaching within the 12-nautical-mile zone that Taiwan claims as its territorial waters. Lily Kuo, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2022 Several of the zones face the island’s biggest commercial ports and overlap with what Taipei claims as its territorial waters, coming within 12 miles of its coastline in what some military analysts have compared with a temporary blockade. Alastair Gale, WSJ, 7 Aug. 2022 After Pelosi's departure, China’s navy and air force began conducting military exercises in six zones around Taiwan with some overlapping Taiwan’s territorial waters. Fox News, 6 Aug. 2022 Fishermen are likely to be the most affected by the drills, which cover six different areas surrounding Taiwan, part of which come into the island’s territorial waters. Johnson Lai And Huizhong Wu, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 Fishermen are likely to be the most affected by the drills, which cover six different areas surrounding Taiwan, part of which come into the island’s territorial waters. Johnson Lai And Huizhong Wu, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Aug. 2022 Soon after her arrival, Beijing announced plans for live-fire military drills, some in areas overlapping with the island’s territorial waters. Paul Mozur, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Aug. 2022 Soon after her arrival, Beijing announced plans for live-fire military drills, some in areas overlapping with the island’s territorial waters. New York Times, 2 Aug. 2022 Although three of the sea zones China had designated for exercises intruded on territorial waters claimed by Taiwan, in practice Chinese missiles and ships avoided those waters. New York Times, 25 Aug. 2022 See More

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

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Word History

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of territorial waters was in 1841

Dictionary Entries Near territorial waters

Cite this Entry

“Territorial waters.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/territorial%20waters. Accessed 7 Oct. 2022.

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Legal Definition

territorial waters

noun plural

territorial wa·​ters
: the waters under the sovereign jurisdiction of a nation or state including both marginal sea and inland waters

More from Merriam-Webster on territorial waters

Last Updated: 3 Oct 2022

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