noun, plural ter·ri·to·ries.

  1. any tract of land; region or district.
  2. the land and waters belonging to or under the jurisdiction of a state, sovereign, etc.
  3. any separate tract of land belonging to a state.
  4. (often initial capital letter) Government.
    1. a region or district of the U.S. not admitted to the Union as a state but having its own legislature, with a governor and other officers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.
    2. some similar district elsewhere, as in Canada and Australia.
  5. a field or sphere of action, thought, etc.; domain or province of something.
  6. the region or district assigned to a representative, agent, or the like, as for making sales.
  7. the area that an animal defends against intruders, especially of the same species.

noun plural -ries

  1. any tract of land; district
  2. the geographical domain under the jurisdiction of a political unit, esp of a sovereign state
  3. the district for which an agent, etc, is responsiblea salesman’s territory
  4. an area inhabited and defended by an individual animal or a breeding group of animals
  5. an area of knowledgescience isn’t my territory
  6. (in football, hockey, etc) the area defended by a team
  7. (often capital) a region of a country, esp of a federal state, that enjoys less autonomy and a lower status than most constituent parts of the state
  8. (often capital) a protectorate or other dependency of a country


  1. the Territory Australian See Northern Territory

n.early 15c., “land under the jurisdiction of a town, state, etc.,” probably from Latin territorium “land around a town, domain, district,” from terra “earth, land” (see terrain) + -orium, suffix denoting place (see -ory). An alternative theory, somewhat supported by the vowels of the original Latin word, suggests derivation from terrere “to frighten” (see terrible); thus territorium would mean “a place from which people are warned off.” Sense of “any tract of land, district, region” is first attested c.1600. Specific U.S. sense of “organized self-governing region not yet a state” is from 1799.

  1. A geographic area occupied by a single animal, mating pair, or group. Animals usually defend their territory vigorously against intruders, especially of the same species, but the defense often takes the form of prominent, threatening displays rather than out-and-out fighting. Different animals mark off territory in different ways, as by leaving traces of their scent along the boundaries or, in the case of birds, modifying their calls to keep out intruders.

see come with the territory; cover the field (territory).

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