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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for territory

Synonyms

habitat, home, niche, range

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

When Hurricane Maria devastated the United States territory of Puerto Rico, causing untold amounts of damage and ultimately killing nearly 3,000, President Donald Trump offered paper towels. Dennis Tang, Teen Vogue, "Trump's Offer to Help Notre-Dame Rebuild Doesn't Match His Response to Puerto Rico's Disaster," 19 Apr. 2019 To expect a return of this territory after such a belligerent action is simply fanciful thinking. WSJ, "Golan and Crimea Annexations Are Different," 8 Apr. 2019 India has accused Pakistan of harboring the terrorist group believed responsible for the attacks, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), allowing the group to operate out of Pakistani territory. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Aircraft Shot Down As Crisis Between India and Pakistan Escalates," 27 Feb. 2019 Obviously there’s nothing silly about the general idea of walls to separate pieces of territory. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The shutdown is intractable because Trump’s wall is ridiculous and Republicans know it," 8 Jan. 2019 Decades later, though, large areas of the mountainous jungle territory still remain outside of Jakarta's control. Stephen Wright, Fox News, "Polish globe-trotter blunders into Indonesia-Papua conflict," 24 Sep. 2018 In 1982, Argentina invaded the British overseas territory the Falkland Islands, starting a war. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Get to Know Prince Andrew, the Father of Princess Eugenie and Beatrice," 13 Aug. 2018 Elements that Amtrak studies include switches, the type of territory, the number of grade-level crossings, construction equipment along the track and the weather forecast, Meko said. Bart Jansen, USA TODAY, "Railroads have improved safety since fatal S.C. collision, Amtrak and CSX officials say," 10 July 2018 The show traces the street's history back to Augustus Woodward, the first judge of the Michigan territory, who arrived in 1805 and devised an interlocking hexagon plan of pathways for downtown Detroit. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit's Woodward Ave. chosen as one of 10 streets that changed America," 6 July 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about territory

Statistics for territory

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for territory

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for territory

territory

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on territory

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!