Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An area of land; a region.
  • n. The land and waters under the jurisdiction of a government.
  • n. A political subdivision of a country.
  • n. A geographic region, such as a colonial possession, that is dependent on an external government: the territories of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • n. A subdivision of the United States that is not a state and is administered by an appointed or elected governor and elected legislature.
  • n. A similarly organized political subdivision of Canada or Australia.
  • n. An area for which a person is responsible as a representative or agent: a salesperson's territory.
  • n. Sports The area of a field defended by a specified team: punted the ball deep into the opponent's territory.
  • n. Biology An area occupied by a single animal, mating pair, or group and often vigorously defended against intruders, especially those of the same species.
  • n. A sphere of action or interest; a province. See Synonyms at field.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large extent or tract of land; a region; a country; a district.
  • n. A geographic area under control of a single governing entity such as state or municipality; an area whose borders are determined by the scope of political power rather than solely by natural features such as rivers and ridges.
  • n. An area that an animal of a particular species consistently defends against its conspecifics.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large extent or tract of land; a region; a country; a district.
  • n. The extent of land belonging to, or under the dominion of, a prince, state, or other form of government; often, a tract of land lying at a distance from the parent country or from the seat of government.
  • n. In the United States, a portion of the country not included within the limits of any State, and not yet admitted as a State into the Union, but organized with a separate legislature, under a Territorial governor and other officers appointed by the President and Senate of the United States. In Canada, a similarly organized portion of the country not yet formed into a Province.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The extent or compass of land and the waters thereof within the bounds or belonging to the jurisdiction of any sovereign, state, city, or other body; any separate tract of land as belonging to a state; dominion; sometimes, also, a domain or piece of land belonging to an individual.
  • n. Any extensive tract, region, district, or domain: as, an unexplored territory in Africa.
  • n. [capitalized] In the United States, an organized division of the country, not admitted to the complete rights of Statehood (see state, 13).
  • n. Synonyms and Quarter, province.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an area of knowledge or interest
  • n. a region marked off for administrative or other purposes
  • n. the geographical area under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state

Etymologies

Middle English, from Latin territōrium, from terra, earth.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin territorium, from terra the earth (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Both areas were then organized as one territory, Xinjiang (literally, “new territory”), with its capital at Urumchi; it became a province in 1884.

    1864-89

  • Congress made up its mind for good on the 16th of July, 1790, and decided that the President should be intrusted with the care of choosing “on the river Potomac” a territory, ten miles square, which should become the “Federal territory” and the permanent seat of the Government of the United States.

    Major L'Enfant and the Federal City. II. I

  • In its extent the first ordinance covered _all territory_ ceded or to be ceded; the second ordinance covered only the territory north west of the

    The Relations of the Federal Government to Slavery Delivered at Fort Wayne, Ind., October 30th 1860

  • The task of preserving the timber recently cut and of preventing further depredations _within the disputed territory_ was assigned to the State of Maine after her military force should have been withdrawn from it, and it was to be accomplished by a civil posse, armed or unarmed, which was to continue in the territory and to operate in every part of it where its agency might be required to protect the timber already cut and prevent further depredations, without any limitation whatever or any restrictions except such as might be construed into an attempt to disturb by arms the Province of New Brunswick in her possession of the Madawaska settlement or interrupt the usual communication between the Provinces.

    A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents Volume 3, part 2: Martin Van Buren

  • Many are more familiar with the Galapagos, an archipelago comprised of 125 large and small islands of volcanic origin and in which 97% of the territory is a protected area under the category of National Park.

    Global Voices in English » Ecuador: Galapagos Islands Advance in 7 New Wonders Competition

  • That his territory is a fantasy world only enhances the enjoyment.

    Thinking Highly of Us

  • Georgia is trying hard to secure wider support to replace the Russian peacekeeping force in Abkhazia with an international one, to prevent what it calls the territory's "creeping annexation."

    U.N. Says Russian Jet

  • Then Richard, a pharmaceutical salesman married to sexy Valérie, lands a plum assignment: introducing antidepressants into Africa, virgin territory for the drug industry and for the womanizing he has honed to a science.

    The Idea of Love by Louise Dean: Book summary

  • Three western lines traveled through brief sections of East Berlin territory, passing through eastern stations (called Geisterbahnhöfe, or ghost stations) without stopping.

    Reading the Hugo Nominees: The City & The City

  • Over the past two months, the spy service has nearly doubled the pace of its drone campaign, killing dozens of militants in territory controlled by the Haqqani network and thought to be a haven for al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

    U.S. military campaign to topple resilient Taliban hasn't succeeded

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