1832, "grass yielding edible grain," originally an adj. (1818), from Fr. céréale, from L. Cerealis "of grain," originally "of Ceres," from Ceres, Roman goddess of agriculture, from PIE base *ker-, *kre- "to grow." The application to breakfast food is Amer.Eng. 1899.
(sîr'ē-əl) 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.