Definition of territory in English:


nounPlural Territories, 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’
    mass noun ‘sorties into enemy territory’
    • ‘It is never wise to stay in one place for long… especially in the enemies' territory.’
    • ‘The Cree complaints echo those of an alliance of Manitoba First Nations, which also say the inclusion of their lands in the new territory was done without their consent.’
    • ‘He was the best ruler his territory had ever witnessed and their two territories had been allies ever since he started his reign.’
    • ‘By the end of that century more than half of the territory of the Manchu empire consisted of lands whose native populations were not Chinese.’
    • ‘Both were self-proclaimed rulers of their territories, and had come to blows in the past.’
    • ‘One of Kaloyan's main missions at the time was to form an anti-Byzantine coalition to fight his enemy and gain more territories for his state.’
    • ‘Purchasing activities fell into private hands and land sales continued to erode Iroquois territories.’
    • ‘The Neskonlith Indian Band has been trying to assert their title to the land by living on their traditional territories in the Skwelkwek'welt area.’
    • ‘Mayapán was destroyed by its own inhabitants around ad 1450 during a rebellion against the Cocom rulers who dominated the territory.’
    • ‘The Nunavut territory and Nunavut the land claims agreement are now living legal entities, and at least one of them, the land claims agreement, is protected by the constitution.’
    • ‘So, Napoleon had a difficult task on his hands - how to control such a vast territory of land?’
    • ‘A cross-Channel aristocracy developed, holding lands in both territories and having a vested interest in keeping them united in one ruler.’
    • ‘In a military conflict the main political and strategic aim is not to rout the enemy and occupy its territory but to deprive it of its will to opposition and force it to accept peace and cooperation.’
    • ‘It is binding on all States in all territories under their jurisdiction or effective control.’
    • ‘It has its own national flag, national anthem, currency, military and passport, and its own territory under its jurisdiction.’
    • ‘As each of the rulers of these territories claimed he was the rightful successor, a bloody war that lasted for generations was fought.’
    • ‘Settlers had expected to take possession of much of the land after the territory was admitted to the Union in 1864.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The governing of such a vast territory of land would become easier, the Romans understood, if everyone were made to feel as if they were a partner in such an endeavor.’
    • ‘The ownership of land within a territory in the exclusive occupation of a people must be vested in that people: land is susceptible of ownership, and there are no other owners.’
    area of land, area, region, enclave
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Zoology An area defended by an animal or group of animals against others of the same sex or species.
      ‘male blackbirds try to attract as many females to their territory as possible’
      • ‘On their breeding grounds, pairs advertise and defend large territories with a variety of aerial displays.’
      • ‘Males arrive first on the breeding site and establish territories around several nest-boxes, into which they add small sticks and twigs.’
      • ‘Many male iguanids defend non-overlapping territories to control access to mates during a well defined mating season.’
      • ‘Males attract females and defend their territories with undulating flight displays, fluttering and gliding while calling.’
      • ‘In winter, males and females defend separate territories, and the sexes have different habitat preferences.’
      • ‘Breeding pairs defend large territories for nesting and foraging.’
      • ‘Males will defend territories, and females will defend areas around their broods excluding their own and other species.’
      • ‘Despite their size, hummingbirds are aggressive and will fiercely defend their territory from other species as well as other hummingbirds.’
      • ‘The young leave the nest at about 16 days but stay on the breeding territory for another 3-4 weeks before heading off on their own.’
      • ‘The male defends a territory that may house a small harem of females who nest on the ground in the dense cover of alfalfa, wheat, or hay.’
      • ‘In fresh water streams and rivers, juvenile coho salmon defend territories and compete for limited feeding sites with other fish.’
      • ‘Anatids breed seasonally although some species maintain territories year round.’
      • ‘But in this short time, a male can contribute more offspring to the population than the female by commanding the territories of several breeding tigresses.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘During courtship, the female often takes the lead, staking her breeding territory and fighting with other females over potential mates.’
      • ‘Breeding pairs defend large territories where they often cooperate in hunting birds, eggs, and rodents.’
      • ‘The residents often behave aggressively toward intruders of the same or different species within their territory.’
      • ‘Song sparrows are sedentary and defend territories in both breeding and non-breeding seasons.’
      • ‘Most species defend small territories only during spawning.’
      • ‘Group members cooperatively defend territories, harvest herbaceous food, and give alarm calls and footdrum in response to predators.’
    2. 1.2 An area defended by a team or player in a game or sport.
      • ‘Also anxious to make a big impression on his home territory is Bradford-born left-arm spinner Ian Fisher who has bagged a five-wicket haul in the last three innings in which he has bowled.’
      • ‘A small crowd witnessed the dominant Blue Bulls Country XV enjoying the majority of possession and seldom being pushed into their own territory.’
      • ‘This championship soil may be virgin territory for the team and the city, but the player has been here before.’
      • ‘Botha also scored the first try, after just three minutes, as the Boks made their intentions clear from the kick-off as they drove strongly into the Irish territory.’
      • ‘Oakland had the ball deep in its territory and the home faithful were roaring in the Colts' noisy dome.’
      • ‘Wharfedale, it seemed, had only to pressure the territory, play the game behind their opponents on the turn and kick downhill for the corners.’
      • ‘Three columns have been provided for the number of centuries scored outside the home territory, number of ducks scored and number of innings before the first duck.’
      • ‘The Crusaders added three more tries in the first half, two from slick counter-attacks from their own territory, to go to the break 46-13 up.’
      • ‘Otley managed a few forays into the home half, one just before the break looking very promising until a penalty drove them back into their own territory.’
      • ‘Otley had the advantage of a strong wind in the first-half and not surprisingly had the better of the game in terms of territory.’
      • ‘Initially, though, the Dalesmen utilised their pack and they out-muscled the visitors to such an extent that despite facing a stiff breeze, the home side enjoyed most of the territory.’
      • ‘Petit will make a saving tackle on the edge of his own box and then, just seconds later will pop up in our territory to take a shot or play a neat through ball.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Two teams of six players each defend a territory.’
      • ‘Although they often conceded territory, they outscored Quins by two tries to one and, unlike their hosts, created the chances for more.’
      • ‘The club had a dropped pass on a flea flicker, a botched fake punt in its own territory and a halfback option pass intercepted in the end zone in its first four games.’
      • ‘He's a valuable player for a team whose offense often sputters deep in its territory.’
      • ‘There is also a need to have scouts in the outstations whose duty is to witness the games of schools and clubs in his allocated territory.’
      • ‘Lewis, who was a solitary and sensational force in the middle of the former system, now must share the inside territory with another linebacker.’
      • ‘Those brave souls understand that taking a slant or skinny post on the dead run in the territory between the linebackers and safeties can produce big plays and sometimes six points.’
    3. 1.3 An area in which one has certain rights or for which one has responsibility with regard to a particular type of activity.
      ‘don't go committing murders on my territory’
      • ‘The sales force went through major change in 1992 when regional business managers were appointed with budgetary responsibility for their territory.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In terms of your own department, function, territory or responsibility, how can your company enhance its market share of some product or service?’
      • ‘It is also the only department store in the territory to run an upmarket supermarket inside the store.’
      domain, area of concern, area of interest, area of knowledge, province, department, field, preserve, sphere, arena, realm, world
      sphere of operations, area, section, stamping ground
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4mass noun, with adjective or noun modifier Land with a specified characteristic.
      ‘woodland territory’
      • ‘In the deciduous woods, 10 to 17 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker breeding territories were established annually.’
      • ‘In some older Greek cities Demeter's sanctuary was located between the urban centre and the agricultural territory, the pattern attributed by de Polignac to cities in the formative stage.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This area is unknown diving territory, and these are now the only maps around.’
      • ‘The hikers start in tropical rainforest territory and travel through moorlands, alpine meadows and glaciers on the summit.’
      • ‘He did a show from Hawaii after that island territory had become America's 50th state in 1959.’
      • ‘In between were vast distances of open territory and rugged inhospitable land.’
      terrain, land, tract of land, ground, countryside
      View synonyms
  • 2(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.

    • ‘Many of the Australian States and Territories have enacted child welfare legislation during the past decade.’
    • ‘Tennant Creek has to be the Christmas capital of the Territory.’
    • ‘Jimmy came to the Territory in 1968 when the family moved to Banka Banka Station.’
    • ‘States and Territories would contribute matching funds.’
    • ‘Cattle men and women from across the Territory are at their Association's Annual Meeting in Darwin.’
    • ‘And the States and Territories have joined together to take action on climate change in the absence of leadership from the Federal government.’
    • ‘The national figures compare Years Three and Five reading and numeracy levels across Australian States and Territories.’
    • ‘The States and Territories have been forced to rationalise their housing assets through the sale of renovated homes and the adoption of leaseback strategies.’
    • ‘The purple-flowering weed is recognised as a weed in all States and Territories, because of its invasive nature and its toxic effect on livestock.’
    • ‘Under the program, approximately $28.3 million will be provided to the States and Territories in 2004.’
    • ‘I'd only been home for five months, having been living in the hills of the Northern Territories in Canada before this trip.’
    • ‘Mataranka is 105 km from Katherine and once vied with Darwin as the capital of the Territory.’
    • ‘Does this mean that there are parts of Australia that are neither States nor Territories?’
    • ‘Ruddock said the States and Territories were aiming to have draft provisions ready for the attorneys-general meeting in March.’
    • ‘Government attitudes Federally and among the States and Territories is clear: you help yourselves and we'll help you.’
    • ‘Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territories.’
    • ‘This system has worked very well for most of the intervening time - all States and Territories could communicate inter and intra-state.’
    • ‘The issue of law and order must remain with the States and Territories, and the egos of those wishing to change those laws in States other than their own, should be hosed down.’
    • ‘But it notes the National Infection Control Guidelines have just been revised and agreed to by all States and Territories.’
    • ‘Hasluck overnighted with him in the bush when making one of his inspections as Minister of Territories.’
  • 3mass noun An area of knowledge, activity, or experience.

    ‘the contentious territory of clinical standards’
    ‘the way she felt now—she was in unknown territory’
    • ‘Finally, my Wild Weekend journey has taken me well and truly out of my comfort zone and into unknown territory.’
    • ‘Rock critics often like to elevate music to a higher plane, taking it beyond the realm of everyday experience and into quasi-mythical territory.’
    • ‘Being a first novel, though, it's unknown territory.’
    • ‘They had never done any animation before, so it was completely unknown territory for them.’
    • ‘France are heading into unknown territory as they know very little about Uruguay, a side they have not played since 1985.’
    • ‘A blind and irresistible impulse urges you to make a commitment in a personal relationship and take a quantum leap into unknown territory.’
    • ‘In the fourth dish we finally venture into unknown territory with the grilled venison with parsnips and pomegranate vinaigrette.’
    • ‘This is a good time to take a quantum leap into unknown territory or new work situations.’
    • ‘According to the Park Hotel manager, the industry is in unknown territory and is now facing into its third successive year of problems.’
    • ‘Down champions, Mayobridge will be entering unknown territory this Sunday when they take on Carrickmore in the opening round of the Ulster Club Championship.’
    • ‘But, as in all aspects of life, expansion of one's activities beyond previously explored territory involves taking risks.’
    • ‘We have huge demand in the short-term but after that it is unknown territory.’
    • ‘Freedom and adventure are inviting you into unknown territory and there is nothing to hold you back at this point.’
    • ‘The play presents an insight into that which is considered to many, unknown territory, the mind of the young person and the story that unfolds is bittersweet.’
    • ‘Venturing into relatively unknown territory started to prove too much, though, and they failed to maintain their play-off push, finishing 10th.’
    • ‘Now this was unknown territory for our modest music scene.’
    • ‘The reader experiences a suite of poems that is vaguely reminiscent of the famous Romantics, but verging into unknown and tenuous territory.’
    • ‘It's always interesting to be faced with completely unknown territory.’
    • ‘But then he moved into daytime soap territory - in full knowledge, no doubt, of his audience.’
    • ‘As Nijinsky wrestled with the complexity of this score which was taking dance into unknown territory he was not afraid to push the boundaries of ballet as he sought to respond to the savage sounds of the orchestra.’
    area of interest, field of interest, field, interest, speciality, province, preserve
    View synonyms


  • go (or come) with the territory

    • Be an unavoidable result of a particular situation.

      • ‘‘The responsibility goes with the territory and I will always put duty before leisure in those terms’, he said.’
      • ‘Short of gaining the credibility and notoriety that go with the territory, it is not known what drove him to make an offer and how he intended to finance the deal.’
      • ‘I have lived in villages round the country for over 40 years and accept that tractors and farm traffic go with the territory of Ye Olde English village.’
      • ‘Horse riding can be a dangerous sport and it's one of the hazards that go with the territory.’
      • ‘Many keen gardeners are also enthusiastic bird-watchers - it seems to go with the territory so to speak.’
      • ‘I think he'll cope very well with the pressures and it will be a learning curve, but the media attention comes with the territory.’
      • ‘They expect protests, it goes with the territory, it's part of democracy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As one of Scotland's most experienced professional coaches he has managed to handle the pressures that go with the territory.’


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.