Webster 1913 Edition



, from
the earth: cf. F.
. See
A large extent or tract of land; a region; a country; a district.
He looked, and saw wide
Before him – towns, and rural works between.
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;
as, the
of a State; the
of the East India Company
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.

Webster 1828 Edition



[L. territorium, from terra, earth.]
The extent or compass of land within the bounds or belonging to the jurisdiction of any state, city or other body.
Linger not in my territories.
They erected a house within their own territory.
Arts and sciences took their rise and flourished only in those small territories where the people were free.
A tract of land belonging to and under the dominion of a prince or state, lying at a distance from the parent country or from the seat of government; as the territories of the East India Company; the territories of the United States; the territory of Michigan; Northwest Territory. These districts of country, when received into the union and acknowledged to be states, lose the appellation of territory.

Definition 2021





territory (countable and uncountable, plural territories)

  1. A large extent or tract of land; a region; a country; a district.
  2. (Canada) One of three of Canada's federated entities, located in the country's Arctic, with fewer powers than a province and created by an act of Parliament rather than by the Constitution: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.
  3. 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.
    • 2013 August 3, Boundary problems”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science, too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too. GDP measures the total value of output in an economic territory. Its apparent simplicity explains why it is scrutinised down to tenths of a percentage point every month.
  4. (ecology) An area that an animal of a particular species consistently defends against its conspecifics.
  5. (sports and games) The part of the playing field or board over which a player or team has control.
    • 2011 October 1, Tom Fordyce, Rugby World Cup 2011: England 16-12 Scotland”, in BBC Sport:
      Scotland had the territory and the momentum, forcing England into almost twice as many tackles and rattling them repeatedly at set-pieces.
  6. A geographic area that a person or organization is responsible for in the course of work.
    • 1993, Robert D. Hisrich & ‎Ralph W. Jackson, Selling and Sales Management, ISBN 0812046935, page 160:
      A well-designed sales territory allows a salesperson to make best use of his time with present and potential customers and minimize travel time.
  7. A location or logical space which someone owns or controls.
    • 1979, Raymond Lifchez & ‎Barbara Winslow, Design for Independent Living, ISBN 0520044347, page 97:
      The establishment of a personal territory almost invariably precedes the sharing of a territory with a mate. For those who are unable to make a break from the parental home, this stage is almost never reached.
    • 2010, Christian Müller-Tomfelde, Tabletops - Horizontal Interactive Displays, ISBN 1849961131, page 371:
      In general, when a group member wanted an item that was located in someone else's personal territory, they would ask that person to pass them the item.
    • 2014, Stevi Jackson & ‎Shaun Moores, The Politics of Domestic Consumption, ISBN 131790365X, page 305:
      Now that the days of handbag-carrying women have largely drawn to a close, houseworkers rarely have a clearly marked-out personal territory — although for some the dressing-table may be a non-transportable handbag equivalent.
  8. A market segment or scope of professional practice over which an organization or type of practitioner has exclusive rights.
    • 2008, Kathleen Fahy, ‎Maralyn Foureur, & ‎Carolyn Hastie, Birth Territory and Midwifery Guardianship, ISBN 075068870X, page 7:
      The medical registration act eventually did form the foundation for medicine to be able to claim an ever increasing occupational territory and the domination of all other health disciplines.
  9. An area of subject matter, knowledge, or experience.
    • 2011, Laura Simms, Our Secret Territory: The Essence of Storytelling, ISBN 1591811724, page xv:
      As a result, as the years have passed, my involvement with storytelling has expanded to the territory of compassionate action.
    • 12 July 2012, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
      The matter of whether the world needs a fourth Ice Age movie pales beside the question of why there were three before it, but Continental Drift feels less like an extension of a theatrical franchise than an episode of a middling TV cartoon, lolling around on territory that’s already been settled.
    • 2013, Hadley Hoover, Uncharted Territory, ISBN 1304290360, page 25:
      I'd like to be friends, but on a new level. Can't you try to understand that? And here's a harder question" Can we achieve it? This is uncharted territory for both of us.

Derived terms

Related terms