[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. cercocystis,
  2. cercopithecoid,
  3. cercus,
  4. cere,
  5. cerea flexibilitas,
  6. cereal leaf beetle,
  7. cerebellar artery,
  8. cerebellar cortex,
  9. cerebellar fissure,
  10. cerebellar gait

Origin of cereal

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

Related formsnon·ce·re·al, adjective, noun

Can be confusedcereal serial

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cereal

British Dictionary definitions for cereal


/ (ˈsɪərɪəl) /


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 productscereal farming

Word Origin for cereal

C19: from Latin cereālis concerning agriculture, of Ceres 1

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

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

Science definitions for cereal


[ sîrē-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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.