• synonyms


[ter-i-tawr-ee-al-i-tee, -tohr-]
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  1. territorial quality, condition, or status.
  2. the behavior of an animal in defining and defending its territory.
  3. attachment to or protection of a territory or domain.

Origin of territoriality

First recorded in 1890–95; territorial + -ity
Related formsnon·ter·ri·to·ri·al·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for territoriality

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for territoriality


  1. the state or rank of being a territory
  2. the behaviour shown by an animal when establishing and defending its territory
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for territoriality


1839, as a concept in international law, from territorial + -ity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

territoriality in Medicine


  1. A behavior pattern in animals consisting of the occupation and defense of a territory.
  2. A similar behavior pattern in humans consisting of the tendency to defend a particular domain or sphere of influence or interest.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

territoriality in Science


  1. A behavior pattern in animals consisting of the occupation and defense of a territory.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.