Ce·​res ˈsir-(ˌ)ēz How to pronounce Ceres (audio)
: the Roman goddess of agriculture compare demeter
: a dwarf planet that orbits within the asteroid belt with a mean distance from the sun of 2.7 astronomical units (260 million miles) and a diameter of 590 miles (950 kilometers)

Word History


Latin Cerer-, Cerēs, probably personified noun derivative going back to an Indo-European adjective *ḱerh3-ḗs "of grain," derivative of *ḱérh3-o/es "nourishment, grain," derivative of a verbal base *ḱerh3- "feed, fill, satisfy," whence also Greek koréō "(I) will satiate, fill," Lithuanian šeriù, šérti "to feed," Germanic *hersija- "of grain" (whence Old Saxon hirsi "millet," Old High German hirso, hirsi)

Note: Latin crēscere "to increase" and creāre "to beget, bring into being" are most likely unrelated—see crescent entry 1.

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Ceres was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near Ceres

Cite this Entry

“Ceres.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Ceres. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Ce·​res ˈsir-(ˌ)ēz How to pronounce Ceres (audio)
city in central California southeast of Modesto population 45,417

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