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[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 pertaining to grain or the plants producing it.
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cereals
  • Oats are also an ingredient in many cold cereals, in particular muesli and granola.
  • The city also produces wine, beer, cereals, almonds, and textiles.
  • The exception to the rule are cereals such as oatmeal and porridge, which are eaten hot.
  • Manufacturers often fortify breakfast cereals with various vitamins.
  • cereals with relatively high sugar content are also produced.
  • These hot cereals are typically served with maple syrup or brown sugar and milk or cream.
  • References breakfast cereals and how they are made, elwood f.
  • Other warm climate cereals, such as sorghum, are adapted to arid conditions.
  • Spring cereals typically require more irrigation and yield less than winter cereals.
  • Overconsumption of milled cereals is sometimes blamed for obesity.
British Dictionary definitions for cereals


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 cereals



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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cereals 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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