anything published, broadcast, etc., in short installments at regular intervals, as a novel appearing in successive issues of a magazine.
Library Science. a publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued indefinitely.
published in installments or successive parts: a serial story.
pertaining to such publication.
pertaining to, arranged in, or consisting of a series.
occurring in a series rather than simultaneously: serial marriage; serial murders.
effecting or producing a series of similar actions: The police think a serial killer is responsible for five homicides in this city last month.
of or pertaining to the apparent or actual performance of data-processing operations one at a time (distinguished from parallel ).
of or pertaining to the transmission or processing of each part of a whole in sequence, as each bit of a byte or each byte of a computer word (distinguished from parallel ).
Music. of, pertaining to, or composed in serial technique.

1835–45; < Neo-Latin seriālis. See series, -al1

serially, adverb
nonserial, noun, adjective
nonserially, adverb

cereal, serial. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
serial (ˈsɪərɪəl)
1.  a novel, play, etc, presented in separate instalments at regular intervals
2.  a publication, usually regularly issued and consecutively numbered
3.  of, relating to, or resembling a series
4.  published or presented as a serial
5.  of or relating to such publication or presentation
6.  computing Compare parallel of or operating on items of information, instructions, etc, in the order in which they occur
7.  of, relating to, or using the techniques of serialism
8.  logic, maths See also ordering (of a relation) connected, transitive, and asymmetric, thereby imposing an order on all the members of the domain, as less than on the natural numbers
[C19: from New Latin seriālis, from Latin seriēsseries]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1840, from series (q.v.), popularized in ref. to Dickens' novels, published one part at a time (as opposed to all at once, in a book). Found to be a useful word and given wide application. The noun is attested from 1846. Serial number first recorded 1935. Serial killer is
first attested 1981 (in relation to John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy), though serial had been used in connection with murders since the early 1960s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

serial definition

1. serial communications
2. serial processor.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
State intervention has so far failed to tackle serial criminals, while
  pointlessly and expensively locking up too many petty ones.
Genetic data suggest what scientists call a serial founder effect.
Serial entrepreneurs could retire when they cash out of a thriving business.
Indeed, should a bank want to, it could match every note it issued against its
  printed serial number.
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