[ seer-ee-uhl ]
See synonyms for: serialserialsserially on

  1. anything published, broadcast, etc., in short installments at regular intervals, as a novel appearing in successive issues of a magazine.

  2. Library Science. a publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued indefinitely.

  1. published in installments or successive parts: a serial story.

  2. pertaining to such publication.

  1. pertaining to, arranged in, or consisting of a series.

  2. occurring in a series rather than simultaneously: serial marriage; serial murders.

  3. effecting or producing a series of similar actions: The police think a serial killer is responsible for five homicides in this city last month.

  4. Computers.

    • of or relating to the apparent or actual performance of data-processing operations one at a time (distinguished from parallel).

    • of or relating 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).

  5. Music. of, relating to, or composed in serial technique.

Origin of serial

From the New Latin word seriālis, dating back to 1835–45. See series, -al1

Other words from serial

  • se·ri·al·ly, adverb
  • non·se·ri·al, noun, adjective
  • non·se·ri·al·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with serial

Words Nearby serial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use serial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for serial


/ (ˈsɪərɪəl) /

  1. a novel, play, etc, presented in separate instalments at regular intervals

  2. a publication, usually regularly issued and consecutively numbered

  1. of, relating to, or resembling a series

  2. published or presented as a serial

  1. of or relating to such publication or presentation

  2. computing of or operating on items of information, instructions, etc, in the order in which they occur: Compare parallel (def. 5)

  3. of, relating to, or using the techniques of serialism

  4. logic maths (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: See also ordering

Origin of serial

C19: from New Latin seriālis, from Latin seriēs series

Derived forms of serial

  • serially, adverb

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