If your dog barks whenever someone walks through your yard, it might be because she's territorial, or inclined to protect her territory from trespassers.

A person — or an animal — who guards or defends the area she considers to belong to her is territorial. You can also use the adjective to describe anything relating to the territory itself. For example, territorial boundaries are invisible lines that mark the division between one country, or territory, and another. The Latin root, territorium, "land around a town," comes from terra, "earth or land."

Definitions of territorial
  1. adjective
    of or relating to a territory
    “the territorial government of the Virgin Islands”
    territorial claims made by a country”
  2. adjective
    belonging to the territory of any state or ruler
    territorial rights”
    restricted to the geographic area under a particular jurisdiction
    related or limited to a particular region
    related or limited to a distinct region or subdivision of a territory or community or group of people
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    exterritorial, extraterritorial
    outside territorial limits or jurisdiction
  3. adjective
    displaying territoriality; defending a territory from intruders
    territorial behavior”
    “strongly territorial birds”
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    not displaying territoriality
  4. noun
    nonprofessional soldier member of a territorial military unit
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    type of:
    an enlisted man or woman who serves in an army
  5. noun
    a territorial military unit
    synonyms: territorial reserve
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    National Guard, home reserve
    United States military reserves recruited by the states and equipped by the federal government; subject to call by either
    Territorial Army
    British unit of nonprofessional soldiers organized for the defense of Great Britain
    ANG, Air National Guard
    a civilian reserve component of the United States Air Force that provides prompt mobilization during war and assistance during national emergencies
    ARNG, Army National Guard
    a civilian reserve component of the United States Army comprised of guardsmen who serve during overseas peacekeeping missions and during local emergencies
    type of:
    a military unit serving to protect some place or person
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘territorial'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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