pertaining to, consisting of, or representing the earth as distinct from other planets.
of or relating to land as distinct from water.
  1. growing on land; not aquatic.
  2. growing in the ground; not epiphytic or aerial.
Zoology. living on or in the ground; not aquatic, arboreal, or aerial.
of or relating to the earth or this world; worldly; mundane.


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

1. terrene. See earthly.

Antonyms for terrestrial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for terrestrial



of or relating to the earth
of or belonging to the land as opposed to the sea or air
(of animals and plants) living or growing on the land
earthly, worldly, or mundane
(of television signals) sent over the earth's surface from a transmitter on land, rather than by satellite


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

Science definitions for terrestrial



Relating to Earth or its inhabitants.
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.