territory

noun ter·ri·to·ry \ ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of territory

plural -ries
1 a :a geographic area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a governmental authority
b :an administrative subdivision of a country
c :a part of the U.S. not included within any state but organized with a separate legislature
d :a geographic area (such as a colonial possession) dependent on an external government but having some degree of autonomy
2 a :an indeterminate geographic area
b :a field of knowledge or interest
3 a :an assigned area; especially :one in which a sales representative or distributor operates
b :an area often including a nesting or denning site and a variable foraging range that is occupied and defended by an animal or group of animals
go with the territory or come with the territory
:to be a natural or unavoidable aspect or accompaniment of a particular situation, position, or field
  • criticism goes with the territory in this job

Examples of territory in a Sentence

  1. Those mountains are in Mexican territory.

  2. Guam is a U.S. territory.

  3. The birds are busy establishing territories and building nests.

  4. Male cats spray to mark territory.

  5. The goal of the expedition is to map unexplored territory.

Recent Examples of territory from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of territory

Middle English, from Latin territorium, literally, land around a town, from terra land — more at 1terrace

territory Synonyms



TERRITORY Defined for English Language Learners

territory

noun

Definition of territory for English Language Learners

  • : an area of land that belongs to or is controlled by a government

  • : one of the parts of the United States that is not a state

  • : any one of the large parts that some countries are divided into


TERRITORY Defined for Kids

territory

noun ter·ri·to·ry \ ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Definition of territory for Students

plural territories
1 :a geographical area belonging to or under the rule of a government
2 :a part of the United States not included within any state but organized with a separate governing body
4 :an area that is occupied and defended by an animal or group of animals

Word Root of territory

The Latin word terra, meaning “earth,” “land,” or “ground,” gives us the root terr. Words from the Latin terra have something to do with the earth or land. A territory is an area of land ruled by a particular government. A terrace is a piece of land with a flat top. Anything terrestrial lives on land and not in water.


Law Dictionary

territory

noun ter·ri·to·ry \ ˈter-ə-ˌtōr-ē \

legal Definition of territory

plural -ries
1 :a geographical area belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a governmental authority
2 :a political subdivision of a country
3 :a part of the U.S. (as Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands) not included within any state but organized with a separate legislature — compare trust territory

territorial

play \ˌter-ə-ˈtōr-ē-əl\ adjective

territorially

adverb


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