[ tuh-res-tree-uhl ]
/ təˈrɛs tri əl /


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

OTHER WORDS FROM terrestrial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for terrestrial

British Dictionary definitions for terrestrial

/ (təˈrɛstrɪəl) /


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 forms of terrestrial

terrestrially, 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

Scientific definitions for terrestrial

[ tə-rĕstrē-əl ]

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.