territory

noun
ter·​ri·​to·​ry | \ ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce territory (audio) \
plural territories

Definition of territory

1a : 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
2a : an indeterminate geographic area
b : a field of knowledge or interest
3a : 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

Synonyms for territory

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of territory in a Sentence

Those mountains are in Mexican territory. Guam is a U.S. territory. The birds are busy establishing territories and building nests. Male cats spray to mark territory. The goal of the expedition is to map unexplored territory.
Recent Examples on the Web Having such high-mileage players in those important roles puts the Bruins in uncharted territory. Matt Porter, BostonGlobe.com, 8 Aug. 2022 One group representing insurers in the territory estimates that roughly between 120,000 and 150,000 people fall into that subsidy gap now. Rachel Cohrs, STAT, 7 Aug. 2022 The latest round of Israel-Gaza violence was rooted in the arrest earlier this week of a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, part of a months long Israeli military operation in the territory. Fox News, 6 Aug. 2022 With the bases loaded, Lowe popped out in foul territory to end the inning. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 6 Aug. 2022 The latest round of Israel-Gaza violence was rooted in the arrest earlier this week of a senior Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, part of a monthslong Israeli military operation in the territory. Fares Akram, Tia Goldenberg, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Aug. 2022 New district maps are causing some incumbents to run in neighboring districts, forcing them to campaign in unfamiliar territory and contemplate new living arrangements. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 Bird Rights further complicate run-it-back pursuits for teams in tax territory, as Golden state learned firsthand this offseason with Otto Porter Jr. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Yet even though the Commerce Department reported last week that GDP contracted again in the second quarter after contracting in the first, the manufacturing index is in growth territory. Justin Lahart, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of territory

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for territory

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

Learn More About territory

Time Traveler for territory

Time Traveler

The first known use of territory was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near territory

Territorian

territory

territory wool

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for territory

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Territory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/territory. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for territory

territory

noun
ter·​ri·​to·​ry | \ ˈter-ə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce territory (audio) \
plural territories

Kids Definition of territory

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

territory

noun
ter·​ri·​to·​ry | \ ˈter-ə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce territory (audio) \
plural territories

Legal Definition of territory

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

Other Words from territory

territorial \ ˌter-​ə-​ˈtōr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce territory (audio) \ adjective
territorially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on territory

Nglish: Translation of territory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of territory for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about territory

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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