territory

noun

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

Example Sentences

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 Abdi denied that Syrian Democratic Forces had struck inside Turkish territory. Arkansas Online, 24 Nov. 2022 The first are family groups that have established a territory. Bill Jones, Chicago Tribune, 23 Nov. 2022 Neither Democrats nor Republicans have so far ousted an incumbent or won new ground in their opponent’s territory — though a handful of races remain unresolved. Los Angeles Times, 23 Nov. 2022 It is thought the male selects a territory and the female picks the specific nest site, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Paul A. Smith, Journal Sentinel, 22 Nov. 2022 Alongside him will be Hong Kong’s legal system—and the territory’s vanishing reputation as a world-class financial center. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2022 Unlike the older crew members, Ethan is enamored of the possibility of this vast unknown territory. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Nov. 2022 Cruz would never set foot on Cuban territory again. Jacquelyne Germain, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2022 The hurricane, Guerrero said, just exacerbated the challenging circumstances Puerto Rico was already mired in, specifically as US territory, bound to American laws but left out of federal benefits. Leah Asmelash, CNN, 20 Nov. 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near territory

Cite this Entry

“Territory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/territory. Accessed 5 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

territory

noun

ter·​ri·​to·​ry ˈter-ə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce territory (audio)
-ˌtȯr-
plural territories
1
a
: a geographic area belonging to or under the control of a government
b
: a part of the U.S. not included within any state but having a separate governing body
2
a
: an assigned area
a sales representative's territory
b
: an area that is occupied and defended by an animal or group of animals

Legal Definition

territory

noun

ter·​ri·​to·​ry ˈter-ə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce territory (audio)
plural territories
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 adjective
territorially adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on territory

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