ter·​ri·​to·​ri·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce territoriality (audio) \

Definition of territoriality

1 : territorial status
2a : persistent attachment to a specific territory
b : the pattern of behavior associated with the defense of a territory

Examples of territoriality in a Sentence

a scientific study of territoriality in bears
Recent Examples on the Web Sometime around the 14th century, southern New England Indians added corn-beans-squash horticulture to their subsistence, spurring population growth and territoriality. National Geographic, "Massasoit's strategic diplomacy kept peace with the Pilgrims for decades," 19 Nov. 2020 That’s because territoriality is a major stressor among cats. Dr. Patty Khuly, miamiherald, "Bringing home a new kitten can wreak havoc and still be rewarding | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 Davies sees the criticism as largely rooted in territoriality and financial concerns. Jessica Wapner, Newsweek, "A New Theory on Cancer: What We Know About How It Starts Could All Be Wrong," 17 July 2017 The study cited territoriality — a person with a bumper sticker may regard his car as an extension of his home turf which must be defended. Mary Wisniewski, chicagotribune.com, "Southerners, women most likely to favor bumper stickers, survey says," 11 June 2017 Of particular concern is the principle of territoriality, the idea that producers and rights holders can sign agreements with companies in different European countries to give them exclusive local rights to a film or TV series. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Clock Ticking Down for European Digital Single Market," 9 June 2017 Dr. Hemenway, who was an author of a 2002 paper that found Arizona drivers who had guns in their cars were more likely to act rudely and aggressively, said drivers develop a sense of territoriality. Christopher Mele, New York Times, "Road Rage Cases With Guns More Than Double in 3 Years, Report Says," 25 Apr. 2017 And, really liked the chapter on Rei Kawakubo — artistic clothing design, like tattoo, is an up-and-coming art territoriality and cultural heritage headed for (if not already at) the most prestigious museums of the world. Bruce Sterling, WIRED, "RE/Search Newsletter #101," 10 Jan. 2011 The territoriality Baggett gave voice to is perhaps a by-product of fatigue from the museum's long gestation and residents' fear of erasure in a community where so many memories have been bulldozed. Maya Dukmasova, Chicago Reader, "The National Public Housing Museum’s long journey home," 5 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'territoriality.' 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 territoriality

1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about territoriality

Time Traveler for territoriality

Time Traveler

The first known use of territoriality was in 1864

See more words from the same year

Statistics for territoriality

Last Updated

5 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Territoriality.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/territoriality. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for territoriality


How to pronounce territoriality (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of territoriality

: the behavior of animals or people that try to keep others away from an area that they use or control


ter·​ri·​to·​ri·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌter-ə-ˌtōr-ē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce territoriality (audio) \

Legal Definition of territoriality

1 : territorial status
2 : the jurisdiction of a sovereign state over matters within the limits of its territory especially as exercisable apart from the minimum contacts standard for personal jurisdiction over nonresidents

Comments on territoriality

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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