Definition of territorial in English:



  • 1Relating to the ownership of an area of land or sea.

    ‘territorial disputes’
    • ‘The Cheslatta people have drawn from these local interethnic alliances in two basic ways to pursue territorial rights.’
    • ‘Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that territorial expansion would sustain the egalitarian economic basis of republican political institutions.’
    • ‘The Republic of Fiji Military Forces was established to defend the nation's territorial sovereignty.’
    • ‘The Claimant and those like her are of course not within the territorial jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘Pell makes a series of spectacular leaps of logic in order to stake that territorial claim.’
    • ‘Under the action plan, the two countries agreed to speed up negotiations aimed at concluding the peace treaty by resolving the territorial dispute.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The notion of jurisdiction is essentially territorial.’
    • ‘We shall respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all our neighbours.’
    • ‘This means the city does not have the right to proceed with a tax sale of the buildings because they exist on land leased by the territorial government.’
    • ‘The law not only requires large-scale administrative and territorial changes, but also reduces local governments' independence.’
    • ‘It is not extraordinary for a court to adjudicate a tort claim arising outside of its territorial jurisdiction.’
    • ‘So that the concept of territorial limitations to the jurisdiction of justices is something that is found at least at that point in history.’
    • ‘A territorial dispute, by its nature, is liable to arouse nationalistic sentiment.’
    • ‘The territorial governor leased lands to farmers-general, who in turn leased smaller plots of an estate to tenants.’
    • ‘Members of such groups sometimes even feed peacefully side by side on superabundant resources in areas of territorial overlap, as occurs in the baboons I studied.’
    • ‘And city, state, and federal agencies often engage in protracted territorial battles over land rather than expediting development.’
    • ‘It's not that we have any designs on the land of our neighbours, although we have been reluctantly obliged to occupy some of their land as guarantees of territorial security.’
    • ‘Those who held bookland were territorial lords with local interests, and were thus far more likely to seek terms with the Danish invaders, if by their timely submission they could save all or part of their inheritance.’
    geographical, topographical, zonal, topical
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    1. 1.1Zoology (of an animal or species) defending a territory.
      ‘these sharks are aggressively territorial’
      • ‘Breeding fighting fish are territorial, defending an area around a nest of mucus-coated bubbles floating on the water surface.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Snapping shrimp are territorial, with male and female partners codefending a constructed burrow from intruders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Some dogs are territorial and inadvertently ruin window blinds or woodwork trying to get to an intruding delivery person.’
    2. 1.2 Relating to an animal's territory or its defense.
      ‘territorial growls’
      • ‘Audience sex and territorial status influenced aggressive behavior in the interacting males, but a strong audience x nest interaction also was uncovered.’
      • ‘There are a several brief sections on territorial and related behaviour in chimps, which imply considerations of liberty, but that is all.’
      • ‘They exhibit strong territorial behaviour during the breeding season.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They also may have been relatively quiet because there were no other cranes nearby to stimulate vocalizations and other territorial behavior.’
      • ‘High levels of cortisol contribute to lower levels of testosterone and inhibition of dominant or territorial behaviors.’
      • ‘We observed individual females throughout behavioral estrus and quantified mating order and territorial status for each of a female's consorts.’
      • ‘Furthermore, one of the two females was observed singing late in the breeding season when territorial aggression and hence song should be decreasing.’
      • ‘It has been suggested that this decline in territorial aggression may be because large flight and tail feathers were growing at this time and would be easily damaged in a fight.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Male territorial behavior is particularly important in the autumn, during territory establishment, and in early spring.’
      • ‘For instance, chimps are very territorial and patrol borders in order to maintain large territorial areas for gathering fruit.’
      • ‘The role that these territorial interactions play in influencing the redistribution of animals that have been evicted from their native home ranges remains unclear.’
      • ‘Although territorial behavior is not normally observed, males will exhibit this behavior during times when population size and food supplies are lower.’
      • ‘If it really is territorial behaviour that is leading the birds to behave so oddly, then chances are they will soon stop being such a nuisance.’
      • ‘In the present study we examined whether comb size was related to testosterone levels, to a suite of behavioral and territorial traits, and to copulation success.’
      • ‘Broadbills seem to be territorial during the breeding season and their display flights may serve as both breeding and territorial displays.’
      • ‘For males, we noted all territorial and courtship behavior during censuses and used this information to determine the social status of a male.’
      • ‘Triceratops likely used its horns to impress mates, shoo off rivals, or argue for territorial ownership.’
      • ‘In contrast, nesting males cannot move freely between nests because of the territorial behavior of other nesting males and the risk of losing their current nest.’
  • 2Relating to a particular territory, district, or locality.

    ‘a bizarre territorial rite’
    • ‘Responsibilities for protecting Canada's biodiversity fall on the shoulders of both the provincial, territorial and federal governments.’
    • ‘Therefore, under the law, they took a majority of the seats in the new territorial assembly.’
    • ‘Discussions with provincial and territorial governments are planned for later this year.’
    • ‘It is the practice of this paper during municipal and territorial elections to make space available to all the local candidates free of charge, in addition to whatever ads we hope they will also take out.’
    • ‘It will be impossible for territorial local authorities to pick up all the work that is currently done by private certifiers and their own staff, because they will not have the qualified personnel needed to do that.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some agencies are primarily territorial, as in local government, while others are primarily functional, such as education authorities which administer services on a local basis.’
    • ‘National supports the bill, but I draw to the public's attention that there is a huge risk associated with that sort of commercial development by a territorial local authority.’
    • ‘The project documented the spatial extent of natural resource use, providing a measure of indigenous territorial influence in the province.’
    • ‘Its membership consists of national, provincial, state and territorial members of parliaments and legislatures from all countries of the Commonwealth, and includes Mrs Cryer.’
    • ‘The Prime Minister and the thirteen provincial and territorial leaders are meeting there tonight to put the finishing touches on a new Constitutional Accord.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For obvious reasons, the regional organizations were also in the best position to work with their respective provincial or territorial governments.’
    • ‘At the select committee a proposition was put to the submitters, which were all the territorial local authorities in the Auckland region - all eight of them.’
    • ‘Each of the territorial authorities have their own district plans that deal with issues such as coastal development.’
    • ‘It is quite a shift in costs but to the average Canadian, they don't care whether the federal or provincial or territorial government pays for it.’
    • ‘Canada's provincial premiers and territorial leaders are united in a effort to create a national pharmacare program, financed by the federal government.’
    • ‘We have seven territorial local authorities, the Auckland Regional Transport Network, Infrastructure Auckland, and the Auckland Regional Council.’
    • ‘The bill deals with a significant area, but the enforcement provisions load the costs on to the most significant and most important body: the local territorial authority.’
    • ‘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.’
    local, localized, devolved
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    1. 2.1 Relating to a Territory, in the US (historically) or Canada.
      • ‘In ‘And Now for Something Completely Northern: Institutions of Governance in the Territorial North,’ Graham White offers the heartening possibility that there are indeed viable political options beyond the status quo.’
      • ‘Many Tlingits since the 1920s have won seats in the Territorial legislature, setting in motion Tlingit involvement in all aspects of politics and government.’
      • ‘Slim, of a lower middle-class urban parentage, was a product of the University Officer Training Corps system, which taught basic military skills to the better-educated with a view to a Territorial commission.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Highland Territorial battalions crossed the Grand Ravine and entered Flesquieres, where fierce fighting took place.’
      • ‘The feelings of hundreds of family and friends were summed up by Wendy Schofield, 39, of Brookford Close, Burnley, whose husband Mark, 40, is a Territorial lance corporal.’
      • ‘The Old Territorial Administration Building in Dawson City has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.’
      • ‘The first National Conference of Provincial and Territorial Historical Societies met in February 2000.’
      • ‘This narrow, mile-long byway in northeast Santa Fe is rich in traditional adobe-style and Territorial homes.’
      • ‘Some time ago the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors made a presentation to a gathering of Provincial, Territorial and Federal Ministers of Agriculture.’
      • ‘As a member of the Territorial government from 1979 to 1995, she was responsible for several ministerial portfolios, including Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and Health and Public Works.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘The decorative New Testament has replaced the NIV Bible for the many oath ceremonies that are part of the ongoing land-claims agreements between the Dogrib people and the Territorial and Federal Governments.’
      • ‘Provincial and Territorial surveys map their regions, while the GSC addresses cross-border topics, brings specialization to cooperation with provinces and territories, and addresses topics left to the federal survey.’
      • ‘This was the band of the 6th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, the local Territorial unit which drew its recruits from the Keighley, Skipton and Bingley area, at the time of its post-war revival in 1924.’
      • ‘Wander the mix of mansions and Territorial bungalows near El Charro in El Presidio.’
      • ‘The government is examining proposals to introduce a Territorial Army-style force of officers who could do a few hours a week on the beat and be called out in emergencies.’
      • ‘With its adobe walls and Dutch hip roof, the home borrows from both Sonoran and Territorial styles.’
      • ‘The city was now run under one of the Territorial departments with the Commissioner acting as ex-officio mayor.’
      • ‘The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students seeks nominees for the 2005 Outstanding State, Provincial or Territorial Psychological Association of the Year Award.’


  • (in the UK) a member of the Territorial Army, a volunteer force locally organized to provide a reserve of trained and disciplined manpower for use in an emergency.

    • ‘It remained primarily a religious organization despite the efforts of the War Office to incorporate the brigade into a national cadet force administered by the Territorials.’
    • ‘The Territorials face many of the same battles that are currently hampering recruitment among their Regular counterparts.’
    • ‘In 1909, the Territorials held a recruiting march in Bradford.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Paul joined the Territorials 15 years ago and will help treat wounded service men and women and prepare more serious casualties for airlift to the UK.’
    • ‘Private Long, who hopes to study countryside conservation and work for the Forestry Commission, said she got her driving job at the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency through being a Territorial.’
    • ‘He had been a very keen Territorial, even having had a flagpole erected in his garden.’
    • ‘Then we left home, left school, joined the Territorials for the free trip to the South Island, then we played our first gig at a Christchurch café, for which we got five dollars between us.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He joined the Territorials - hitherto he had held off on the ground that the country can only be saved by conscription.’
    • ‘My father stayed in the Territorials, my TV screen was filled with soldiers, and so was my weekly comic (the Victor).’
    • ‘The British Expeditionary Force, made up of regular army units and later reinforced by the Territorials, was a professional army and the bulk of the population had no ties with it.’
    • ‘The Engineer officer summoned all available Territorials (a reserve force) to assist in repairs.’
    • ‘The Territorials made a special visit to the Saddle Inn, in Main Street, Fulford, to celebrate the installation of hand-drawn real ale.’
    • ‘‘It is not a role of the Territorials to make good deficiencies in the regular forces during times of general peace,’ he said.’
    • ‘Harry was in the Territorials before the war broke out and then served with the 5th Field Regiment Artillery in the Desert, in Greece and Crete.’
    • ‘He now serves with the Territorials and was appointed permanent staff administrative officer at 90 Signal Squadron in 1997.’


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