See more 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.
  3. Botany.
    1. growing on land; not aquatic.
    2. growing in the ground; not epiphytic or aerial.
  4. Zoology. living on or in the ground; not aquatic, arboreal, or aerial.
  5. of or relating to the earth or this world; worldly; mundane.
  1. an inhabitant of the earth, especially a human being.

Origin of terrestrial

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin terrestri(s) pertaining to earth (derivative of terra earth) + -al1
Related formster·res·tri·al·ly, adverbnon·ter·res·tri·al, adjective, nounpre·ter·res·tri·al, adjectivesu·per·ter·res·tri·al, adjectiveun·der·ter·res·tri·al, adjectiveun·ter·res·tri·al, adjective

Synonyms for terrestrial

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. terrene. See earthly.

Antonyms for terrestrial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for terrestrial

Contemporary Examples of terrestrial

Historical Examples of terrestrial

  • Do you feel, yet, that you belong to this terrestrial scheme again, Mr. Darnay?

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • Ambition is surely the most foolish and misjudging of all terrestrial passions.


    William Godwin

  • Galusha was following a terrestrial route in the same direction.

    Galusha the Magnificent

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • My peril in this palace is as great as in the room of a terrestrial detective.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

  • But the terrestrial agent felt that in this scene of luxury there was a menace.

    The Martian Cabal

    Roman Frederick Starzl

British Dictionary definitions for terrestrial


  1. of or relating to the earth
  2. of or belonging to the land as opposed to the sea or air
  3. (of animals and plants) living or growing on the land
  4. earthly, worldly, or mundane
  5. (of television signals) sent over the earth's surface from a transmitter on land, rather than by satellite
  1. an inhabitant of the earth
Derived Formsterrestrially, adverbterrestrialness, noun

Word Origin for terrestrial

C15: from Latin terrestris, from terra earth
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 terrestrial

early 15c., from Latin terrestris "earthly," from terra "earth" (see terrain). Originally opposed to celestial; natural history sense of "living on land" is attested from 1630s. The noun meaning "a human being, a mortal" is recorded from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

terrestrial in Science


  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.