[ tuh-res-tree-uhl ]
See synonyms for terrestrial on Thesaurus.com
  1. pertaining to, consisting of, or representing the earth as distinct from other planets.

  2. of or relating to land as distinct from water.

  1. Botany.

    • growing on land; not aquatic.

    • growing in the ground; not epiphytic or aerial.

  2. Zoology. living on or in the ground; not aquatic, arboreal, or aerial.

  3. of or relating to the earth or this world; worldly; mundane.

  1. an inhabitant of the earth, especially a human being.

Origin of terrestrial

First recorded in 1450–1550; late Middle English from Latin terrestri(s) “pertaining to earth” (derivative of terra “earth”) + -al1

synonym study For terrestrial

1. See earthly.

Other words for terrestrial

Opposites for terrestrial

Other words from terrestrial

  • ter·res·tri·al·ly, adverb
  • non·ter·res·tri·al, adjective, noun
  • pre·ter·res·tri·al, adjective
  • su·per·ter·res·tri·al, adjective
  • un·der·ter·res·tri·al, adjective
  • un·ter·res·tri·al, adjective

Words Nearby terrestrial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use terrestrial in a sentence

  • This is especially true of the ocean, where impacts are less obvious than for terrestrial systems.

  • As the critic Dave Hickey famously said, let art be “frivolous” enough to move us at a terrestrial level.

    The Myth of the Tortured Artist | Shane McAdams | January 4, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The license from 2005 for LightSquared was explicitly for phones that used both satellite and terrestrial networks.

  • In 2011 the FCC granted LightSquared a waiver to allow vendors using its proposed network to sell terrestrial-only cellphones.

  • “In January the commission said LightSquared could use its license for exclusive terrestrial purposes,” he said.

  • The epoch of your life upon the earth, even the duration of terrestrial humanity, is but a moment in eternity.

    Urania | Camille Flammarion
  • "Now let us return to the Earth," she said, pointing to the spot where our terrestrial Sun had disappeared.

    Urania | Camille Flammarion
  • It is hardly more than a hundred thousand years since terrestrial humanity evolved itself from the animal chrysalis.

    Urania | Camille Flammarion
  • The Uranian soul, even during its terrestrial incarnations, lives in the world of the absolute and divine.

    Urania | Camille Flammarion
  • The elements of my Martial form do not exist in the terrestrial atmosphere, and your brain could not imagine them.

    Urania | Camille Flammarion

British Dictionary definitions for terrestrial


/ (təˈrɛstrɪəl) /

  1. of or relating to the earth

  2. of or belonging to the land as opposed to the sea or air

  1. (of animals and plants) living or growing on the land

  2. earthly, worldly, or mundane

  3. (of television signals) sent over the earth's surface from a transmitter on land, rather than by satellite

  1. an inhabitant of the earth

Origin of terrestrial

C15: from Latin terrestris, from terra earth

Derived forms of terrestrial

  • terrestrially, adverb
  • terrestrialness, noun

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

Scientific definitions for terrestrial


[ tə-rĕstrē-əl ]

  1. Relating to Earth or its inhabitants.

  2. Relating to, living on, or growing on land.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.