What Does Comes with the Territory Mean?

Comes with the Territory Meaning

Definition: To be an integral part of something.

People will use this expression when describing a negative aspect of an action or thing. For instance, if you are an auto mechanic, you might say getting your hands dirty comes with the territory.

Origin of Comes with the Territory

This expression originated in the 1900s. It originally applied to sales territories. Traveling salesman had to accept the negative aspects of their sales area. This is because the negative parts of the area could not be removed from the overall area.

If the salesperson wanted to make sales, he had to do his best to deal with any problems present in his territory.

The Arthur Miller play, Death of a Salesmen, helped to popularize this expression.

Over time, people began to apply this expression to situations other than sales territories.

Examples of Comes with the Territory

Meaning of comes with the jobIn this dialogue, a brother and sister are discussing the pros and cons of college.

Maria: Hey, Franco. How was your first week at your university?

Franco: Well, there were a lot of things I really liked.

Maria: Yeah? Like what?

Franco: I’m meeting a ton of new people, and the campus has a lot of really fun activities. I’m also learning a lot and have really good professors.   

Maria: So, what didn’t you like?

Franco: It’s so expensive! I’m accumulating a lot of debt.

Maria: Oh, well higher education is really expensive in this country. Debt just comes with the territory.

 Define come with the territoryThe second example shows two university students discussing a problem they have with one of their classes.

Lorenzo: How are you enjoying this class?

Alba: I love it! The professor is incredibly smart, and the textbooks are really helpful. I love the labs too!

Lorenzo: I know! The class is great. I just wish it wasn’t this crowded.

Alba: Well, I think that just comes with the territory. This is the school’s most popular professor, and they make a lot of money if a lot of people sign up for this class.

Lorenzo: Yeah, I understand. I still wish it were different though. 

More Examples

The excerpt below is about the first African-American woman to win the gold medal in an individual swimming event.

  • “It means a lot, especially with what is going on in the world today, some of the issues of police brutality,” Manuel said. “This win hopefully brings hope and change to some of the issues that are going on. My color just comes with the territory.” LA Times

This excerpt is from an article about buying a home in an earthquake zone.

  • To top it off, we also learned the complex is in a tsunami zone! But the seller was fairly nonchalant about the risk and all the physical defects, saying “it comes with the territory.” –LA Times


Comes with the territory refers to something (usually a problem) that is an inseparable part of something else.