Definition of territorial in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌtɛrɪˈtɔːrɪəl/


1Relating to the ownership of an area of land or sea: territorial disputes
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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).


(Territorial) (In the UK) a member of the Territorial Army.
Example sentences
  • 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: /ˌtɛrɪtɔːrɪˈalɪti/
Example sentences
  • 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.


(also territorialise) verb


Pronunciation: /-lʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/


Pronunciation: /tɛrɪˈtɔːrɪəli/
[as submodifier]: territorially ambitious companies
More example sentences
  • 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).

Words that rhyme with territorial

accessorial, accusatorial, advertorial, ambassadorial, arboreal, armorial, auditorial, authorial, boreal, censorial, combinatorial, consistorial, conspiratorial, corporeal, curatorial, dictatorial, directorial, editorial, equatorial, executorial, gladiatorial, gubernatorial, immemorial, imperatorial, janitorial, lavatorial, manorial, marmoreal, memorial, monitorial, natatorial, oratorial, oriel, pictorial, piscatorial, prefectorial, professorial, proprietorial, rectorial, reportorial, sartorial, scriptorial, sectorial, senatorial, tonsorial, tutorial, uxorial, vectorial, visitorial

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ter¦ri|tor¦ial

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