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 pertaining to grain or the plants producing it.

1590–1600; < Latin Cereālis of, pertaining to Ceres; see -al1

noncereal, adjective, noun

cereal, serial.
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World English Dictionary
cereal (ˈsɪərɪəl)
1.  any grass that produces an edible grain, such as oat, rye, wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, and millet
2.  the grain produced by such a plant
3.  any food made from this grain, esp breakfast food
4.  (modifier) of or relating to any of these plants or their products: cereal farming
[C19: from Latin cereālis concerning agriculture, of Ceres1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
cereal   (sîr'ē-əl)  Pronunciation Key 
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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Example sentences
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.
Image for cereal
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