Definition of territory in English:


Syllabification: ter·ri·to·ry
Pronunciation: /ˈterəˌtôrē

noun (plural territories)

  • 1An area of land under the jurisdiction of a ruler or state: the government was prepared to give up the nuclear weapons on its territory sorties into enemy territory
    More example sentences
    • The leader decided that he would never lose power again and openly declared that he would accept support from anyone including bandits and evil rulers from other territories.
    • It is binding on all States in all territories under their jurisdiction or effective control.
    • As each of the rulers of these territories claimed he was the rightful successor, a bloody war that lasted for generations was fought.
    area, area of land, region, enclave; country, state, land, colony, dominion, protectorate, fief, dependency, possession, jurisdiction, holding; section, turf
  • 1.1 Zoology An area defended by an animal or group of animals against others of the same sex or species. Compare with home range.
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    • Most species defend small territories only during spawning.
    • The off-center peak of this creature's shell allows the limpet to use it like a bulldozer to clear its territory of other animals.
    • Breeding pairs defend large territories for nesting and foraging.
  • 1.2An area defended by a team or player in a game or sport.
    More example sentences
    • Wharfedale, it seemed, had only to pressure the territory, play the game behind their opponents on the turn and kick downhill for the corners.
    • Two teams of six players each defend a territory.
    • Whenever his Wanderers team were awarded a free-kick in Leicester territory he placed two players in what can only be described as wildly offside positions inside the penalty area.
  • 1.3An area in which one has certain rights or for which one has responsibility with regard to a particular type of activity: a sales rep for a large territory
    More example sentences
    • The sales force went through major change in 1992 when regional business managers were appointed with budgetary responsibility for their territory.
    • In terms of your own department, function, territory or responsibility, how can your company enhance its market share of some product or service?
    • The accountancy/small biz software specialist now wants to be known as Best Software in the US, a territory now responsible for more than half group sales.
    domain, area of concern/interest/knowledge, province, department, field, preserve, bailiwick, sphere, arena, realm, world
  • 1.4 [with modifier] Land with a specified characteristic: woodland territory
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    • The hikers start in tropical rainforest territory and travel through moorlands, alpine meadows and glaciers on the summit.
    • In between were vast distances of open territory and rugged inhospitable land.
    • In general, it was assumed in the early development of international law that control of natural resources depended on the acquisition of sovereignty over land territory and territorial seas.
    terrain, land, ground, countryside
  • 2 (Territory) (Especially in the US, Canada, or Australia) an organized division of a country that is not yet admitted to the full rights of a state.
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    • I'd only been home for five months, having been living in the hills of the Northern Territories in Canada before this trip.
    • The national figures compare Years Three and Five reading and numeracy levels across Australian States and Territories.
    • Many of the Australian States and Territories have enacted child welfare legislation during the past decade.
  • 3An area of knowledge, activity, or experience: the contentious territory of clinical standards the way she felt now—she was in unknown territory
    More example sentences
    • Rock critics often like to elevate music to a higher plane, taking it beyond the realm of everyday experience and into quasi-mythical territory.
    • Now this was unknown territory for our modest music scene.
    • It's always interesting to be faced with completely unknown territory.


go (or come) with the territory

Be an unavoidable result of a particular situation.
More example sentences
  • ‘The responsibility goes with the territory and I will always put duty before leisure in those terms’, he said.
  • We will always get criticism, it goes with the territory when doing winter maintenance operations.
  • That rationale might not strike a chord with every football fan but then enlightened self-interest goes with the territory of football club ownership.


late Middle English: from Latin territorium, from terra 'land'. The word originally denoted the district surrounding and under the jurisdiction of a town or city, specifically a Roman or provincial city.

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a small amount; a little