territorial waters

plural noun

Definition of territorial waters

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

Examples of territorial waters in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Instead, the whaling fleet will focus on Japanese territorial waters and economic zones. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Japan restarting commercial whaling, ignoring global moratorium," 26 Dec. 2018 Russia has claimed the ships trespassed into Russian territorial waters. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "U.S. Military Plane Flies Over Ukraine in Warning to Russia," 6 Dec. 2018 The Decatur was sailing within 12 miles of the reefs, within what would normally be considered territorial waters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. and Chinese Destroyers Involved in 'Unsafe' Encounter at Sea," 2 Oct. 2018 However, Beijing demands that foreign navy ships seek its permission before transiting Chinese territorial waters. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "South Korean Warship Sails by Disputed South China Sea Islands," 28 Sep. 2018 One report by the Reuters news agency noted that more than 80 oil tankers were anchored off Venezuelan territorial waters at one point, waiting to load, after fears of new ConocoPhillips legal moves paralyzed PDVSA oil sales. Antonio Maria Delgado, miamiherald, "Venezuelans are starving, but the country still sends crude to Cuba," 11 July 2018 Some First Nations in Canada have protested the presence of net pens in their territorial waters. Anchorage Daily News, "Audit finds 70 percent of British Columbia fish-processing plants do not comply with environmental regulations," 8 July 2018 Later Tuesday, the aid group said Malta had sent a message refusing entry to its territorial waters, contradicting the Italian and French leaders and further confusing the itinerary of the ship and its passengers. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Italy, others to take migrants but fate of NGO ship unclear," 26 June 2018 The bill would provide benefits to veterans who served on ships in territorial waters off the coast of Vietnam. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Veterans' Stand Down Draws Hundreds To QVCC," 19 June 2018

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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First Known Use of territorial waters

1841, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for territorial waters

The first known use of territorial waters was in 1841

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More Definitions for territorial waters

territorial waters


English Language Learners Definition of territorial waters

: the part of the ocean near a country's coast that is legally controlled by that country

territorial waters

noun plural
territorial wa·​ters

Legal Definition of territorial waters

: 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

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about territorial waters

Comments on territorial waters

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


to deny responsibility for

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