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

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Synonyms for territory

Synonyms

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The milestone comes nearly six months since the outbreak began in the territory, which once had the highest per capita infection rate in the U.S. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Sept. 8-9," 10 Sep. 2020 Of their four scoring drives, the Blue Devils started in Medina territory (42 and 38) or near midfield (own 49 and 48). cleveland, "Ethan Fritz, defense propel No. 20 Brunswick past No. 17 Medina, 28-21," 4 Sep. 2020 Hamas has imposed a lockdown in the coastal territory bordering Israel and Egypt, which is home to 2 million Palestinians. Bloomberg.com, "Israel Strikes Gaza Strip After Militants Fire Rockets," 29 Aug. 2020 A few years ago, the breakaway territory in the north of Somalia — which holds its own elections — was struggling with low trust in its electoral system due to the high number of people who had registered to vote more than once. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Decades into the internet age, the best voting technology might still be paper," 26 Aug. 2020 Trebek then slides into more comfortable territory: a joke. Angela Haupt, Star Tribune, "Review: 'The Answer Is ...' by Alex Trebek," 24 Aug. 2020 The Valley of Geysers is fragile territory, a sliver in the earth exposing volcanic rock, alkaline pools, and crusts of thermophilic bacteria. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Novelists, Writers, and Poets on the Trips That Shaped Them," 11 Aug. 2020 But again, uncharted territory for not just me but the organization. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' Taylor Decker still waiting for contract extension: Here's the latest," 6 Aug. 2020 Although the hunt takes place on the high plains – prime territory for social distancing – and rural Wyoming has escaped the worst of the virus outbreaks, banquets associated with the event draw hundreds of people. USA TODAY, "NYC taxis, Fisher Cats, casinos: News from around our 50 states," 31 July 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for territory

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for territory

Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Territory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/territory. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for territory

territory

noun
How to pronounce territory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of territory

: 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

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 territorial (audio) \ adjective
territorially adverb

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Comments on territory

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