9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[seer-ee-uh l] /ˈsɪər i əl/
any plant of the grass family yielding an edible grain, as wheat, rye, oats, rice, or corn.
the grain itself.
some edible preparation of it, especially a breakfast food.
of or relating to grain or the plants producing it.
Origin of cereal
1590-1600; < Latin Cereālis of, pertaining to Ceres; see -al1
Related forms
noncereal, adjective, noun
Can be confused
cereal, serial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for cereal
  • To the nation's biggest cereal makers, shredded wheat is worth fighting for.
  • And many have given generational labels no more consideration than the ingredients of their breakfast cereal.
  • Cyclical influences include re-stocking: cereal stocks were run down as prices spiked and need to be replenished.
  • High-fiber breakfast cereal is a good way to get both types of fiber content.
  • Pouring a bowl of cereal is a morning ritual for many people.
  • The secret, an unlikely ingredient, is cooked breakfast cereal.
  • The corn flake makes its debut, not as a commercial breakfast cereal but as a dietary supplement.
  • The cereal company said it cut too many workers, and suffered manufacturing problems as a result.
  • It was crushing, since it was always advertised on tv, to not be able to taste this supposedly wonderful cereal.
  • Copycat cereal manufacturers popped up overnight, and the town became the birthplace of the cereal industry.
British Dictionary definitions for cereal


any grass that produces an edible grain, such as oat, rye, wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, and millet
the grain produced by such a plant
any food made from this grain, esp breakfast food
(modifier) of or relating to any of these plants or their products: cereal farming
Word Origin
C19: from Latin cereālis concerning agriculture, of Ceres1
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
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Word Origin and History for cereal

1832, "grass yielding edible grain," originally an adjective (1818) "having to do with edible grain," from French céréale (16c., "of Ceres;" 18c. in grain sense), from Latin Cerealis "of grain," originally "of Ceres," from Ceres, Italic goddess of agriculture, from PIE *ker-es-, from root *ker- "to grow" (see crescent). The application to breakfast food cereal made from grain is American English, 1899.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cereal in Science
A grass, such as corn, rice, sorghum, or wheat, whose starchy grains are used as food. Cereals are annual plants, and cereal crops must be reseeded for each growing season. Cereal grasses were domesticated during the Neolithic Period and formed the basis of early agriculture.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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