Definition of territorial in English:


Line breaks: ter¦ri|tor¦ial
Pronunciation: /ˌtɛrɪˈtɔːrɪəl


  • 1Relating to the ownership of an area of land or sea: territorial disputes
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    • The notion of jurisdiction is essentially territorial.
    • Ideas of territorial integrity and the ownership of territory are very strong.
    • Scots emerged as some of the great imperial administrators, they explored the unknown, as soldiers they crushed native opposition and made territorial gains.
  • 1.1 Zoology (Of an animal or species) defending a territory: these sharks are aggressively territorial
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    • Males of many species of hummingbird are territorial and the territories, which are usually centered around a food source, are aggressively defended by their owners.
    • Breeding fighting fish are territorial, defending an area around a nest of mucus-coated bubbles floating on the water surface.
    • Further, we have been advised that the wild dogs are very territorial and, if they find any animal in what they consider their territory, they will try to kill it.
  • 1.2Relating to an animal’s territory: the gerbils' territorial behaviour
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    • They exhibit strong territorial behaviour during the breeding season.
    • Adults are at their lowest weight in the spring as territorial behaviour by the boars and suckling by the sows will have reduced their stored fat to a minimum.
    • Fairly early into the same dive at Edy Point, the first of 5 grey reef sharks came up from the depths, curious but keeping a safe distance and displaying no aggressive territorial behaviour.
  • 2Relating to a particular territory, district, or locality: a bizarre territorial rite
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    • One-third of all proceeds would go to the Department of Internal Affairs to go out to the territorial authorities to distribute to arts, culture, and sports and recreation.
    • Our biggest territorial local authority, Timaru District Council, has, for the most part, no access to the waters of either river at any part of their journey to the sea.
    • The sample size and the number of sites used for the front seatbelt survey was increased significantly last year, allowing results for individual territorial local authorities to be included.
  • 2.1 (usually Territorial) Relating to a Territory, especially in the US or Canada.
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    • Staff at the Yukon's child care centers and family day homes will now receive additional monies as part of the $230,000 increase to the direct operating grant announced previously by Territorial government.
    • With its adobe walls and Dutch hip roof, the home borrows from both Sonoran and Territorial styles.
    • It has more than 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places - mostly Victorians and Spanish Territorial adobes - that are easily accessible on a variety of walking tours (maps available at the chamber of commerce).


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  • (Territorial) (In the UK) a member of the Territorial Army.
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    • The Engineer officer summoned all available Territorials (a reserve force) to assist in repairs.
    • The Second World War started on 3 September, 1939, by which time I was eighteen and as a member of the Territorials I thought I would be called up into the army almost immediately.
    • These were the men who had joined the Territorials before the war and who had volunteered, almost to a man, to renounce their ‘home defence only’ obligations.



Pronunciation: /-ˈalɪti/
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  • The rise in the population of the leopard and the imbalance in territoriality vis-à-vis the carrying capacity of the habitat has also caused this versatile animal to adapt itself to the new equations.
  • Our results are concordant with other studies of large mammalian carnivores, which reported that populations were not limited primarily by territoriality but by the supply of food.
  • Investigating the characteristics of the Little Egret's territoriality requires individual identification with permanent markings such as color bands.


[as submodifier]: territorially ambitious companies
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  • And also modern technologies permit geographically dissipated, territorially scattered peoples to renew their cultural identities and personal allegiances more easily than before.
  • I put my purchases on the conveyor belt, after the woman in front had territorially shielded her purchases from mine with a ‘next customer’ sign.
  • The strong wind, which blew down the pitch, favoured the under-dogs in the opening half and they dominated territorially for much of that period.


early 17th century: from late Latin territorialis, from Latin territorium (see territory).

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