[ 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

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

How to use terrestrial in a sentence

  • One of the Terrestrials shouted something unintelligible and pointed up.

    Giants on the Earth | Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • Even as he fell, a roar went up from the watching Terrestrials and with one accord they closed in to attack.

    Giants on the Earth | Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • As they fell on the front ranks of the charging Terrestrials, the form, on which the rays impinged grew suddenly tenuous.

    Giants on the Earth | Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • With a shout the crouching group of Terrestrials rushed toward him, but Damis did not wait.

    Giants on the Earth | Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • The swords of the Terrestrials pierced the struggling guard from the rear and Damis rushed toward the three survivors.

    Giants on the Earth | Sterner St. Paul Meek

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.