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90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cereal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her children ate molasses on their bread, maple sugar on their cereal.

    The Tin Soldier Temple Bailey
  • It is not safe to adhere strictly to the directions on the package of any cereal.

  • Increase of the cereal crops by better seed and improved implements.

    Russia Donald Mackenzie Wallace
  • He had breakfasted at seven-thirty on fruit, cereal, and one egg, in disgrace.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Because of its cheapness, it is not generally adulterated, cereal starches being the most common adulterants.

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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