I need to find a word which is a good match for the word "surrounds" (n., the surrounding land or territory), but which instead describes all of much the space not included in the "surrounds".

To explain a bit more clearly, suppose "surrounds" approximately refers to the territory visible within the horizon in all directions. The word I am looking for likewise approximately refers to all of the land beyond that. Whether it refers to the entire rest of the globe or not is perhaps not important, but I am not looking for a strictly professional or scientific term, just one which might be a good pair with "surrounds", which to me, sounds a bit informal.

  • 4
    "Outlying areas" may be similar to what you need...
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 12:19
  • @RoryAlsop outlying is just another adjective to modify area and doesn't change the meaning to beyond the surrounding area it just changes meaning to something else – from OED: Situated at a distance from the centre of an area; remote, out-of-the-way Commented Jan 13, 2013 at 12:47

3 Answers 3


Outskirts is the correct term I believe.

John lived in the outskirts of the city

Outlaying areas is also correct, but certainly less common and seems a little less conversational.


I visualize a circle with a person at the center. The horizon represents a belt around the circumference. What's beyond that belt is what we're trying to name.

The previously suggested word "outlying" could work, but it doesn't definitely imply the space outside of that belt we're calling something like "the surroundings". If you're trying to maintain a level of certainty with this term, and you already have a sense and even a name for the inner territory and the surrounding territory, I would suggest some compound using "extra-".

"extra-" a prefix meaning “outside,” “beyond,” freely used as an English formative.

Perhaps some form of extra- + [adjective form of name for area inside the circle]:

  • Extra-territorial (if you're talking about an expanse of land)
  • Extra-spacial (if you're talking about dimensions)

Starting from the observer, the areas may be called the central or inner, the peripheral and the outlying or beyond.

@Rory Alsop was correct in suggesting outlying areas.

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