cereal

adjective
ce·​re·​al | \ ˈsir-ē-əl How to pronounce cereal (audio) \

Definition of cereal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to grain or to the plants that produce it also : made of grain

cereal

noun

Definition of cereal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a plant (such as a grass) yielding starchy grain suitable for food also : its grain
2 : a prepared foodstuff of grain (such as oatmeal or cornflakes)

Cereal Has Roots in Roman Myth

The Roman goddess Ceres, the equivalent of the Greek Demeter, was a calm goddess who didn't take part in the quarrels of the other gods. Her particular responsibility was the food-giving plants, and for that reason the food grains came to carry her name. Cereals of the ancient Romans included wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and millet—but not corn (maize), which was a cereal of the Americas.

Examples of cereal in a Sentence

Noun Wheat and barley are common cereals. Some kinds of cereal have a lot of added sugar. Some cereals have a lot of added sugar.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective To start, a quick Grains 101: Grains are the seeds of grass-like plants called cereals, such as wheat, corn, and rice, and some non-cereal plants (pseudocereals), including buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth. Lisa Zwirn, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Jan. 2022 Specialty varieties include Key lime pie, cereal crunch, vegan chocolate peanut butter and spectacular s’mores. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 5 Aug. 2019 Cereal grains like oatmeal, whole fruits, and beans are all good sources of soluble fiber. Dr. Manny Alvarez, Fox News, 23 May 2017 Cereal growers must meet stringent quality criteria according to the end-use of their crop: for pasta production durum wheat must have a protein content of 14%. National Geographic, 24 Feb. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In honor of Wheaties’ 100th anniversary, the iconic cereal brand has selected the four-time Olympic gold medalist to grace the final box in its Century Series and year-long commemorative celebration. Aley Arion, Essence, 18 June 2022 The gender identity of a mascot for a beloved cereal brand is at the center of recent social media claims. Brieanna J. Frank, USA TODAY, 27 May 2022 Even products as prosaic as your favorite cereal brand are going to get hit with price increases soon. Andy Meek, BGR, 24 Nov. 2021 Jane flipping on lights, making coffee, eating cereal. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 12 Aug. 2021 Dowling was holding up his head, beginning to sleep longer through the night, sucking a bottle, eating soft cereal and beginning to roll over. Eileen Kelley, sun-sentinel.com, 25 July 2021 Dowling was holding up his head, beginning to sleep longer through the night, sucking a bottle, eating soft cereal and beginning to roll over. al, 25 July 2021 It’s not the first time she’s teamed up with the cereal brand. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, 15 Apr. 2021 Beginning in late 2020, consumers searched for boxes of the more than 120-year-old Grape-Nuts cereal brand only to find empty shelves and out-of-stock notices. USA Today, 15 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cereal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of cereal

Adjective

1818, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cereal

Adjective

borrowed from French & Latin; French céréale, borrowed from Latin Ceriālis, Cereālis "of the goddess Ceres, of wheat or bread," from Cerer-, Cerēs ceres + -ālis -al entry 1

Note: The derivation of Ceriālis, Cereālis is unclear, as formation directly from the noun does not look possible. M. Leumann (Lateinische Laut- und Formenlehre, Munich, 1977, p. 180) suggests as the base an earlier *Cerrius, from *Cerzios, syncopated from a possessive adjective *Cerez-ios. A putative *Cerriālis would have been re-formed to Ceriālis, then Cereālis, after Cerēs.

Noun

derivative of cereal entry 1

Learn More About cereal

Dictionary Entries Near cereal

cere

cereal

cerealian

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cereal

Cite this Entry

“Cereal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cereal. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for cereal

cereal

noun
ce·​re·​al | \ ˈsir-ē-əl How to pronounce cereal (audio) \

Kids Definition of cereal

1 : a plant (as a grass) that produces grain for food
2 : a food prepared from grain breakfast cereals

cereal

adjective
ce·​re·​al | \ ˈsir-ē-əl How to pronounce cereal (audio) \

Medical Definition of cereal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to grain or to the plants that produce it also : made of grain

cereal

noun

Medical Definition of cereal (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a plant (as a grass) yielding farinaceous grain suitable for food also : its grain
2 : a prepared foodstuff of grain

More from Merriam-Webster on cereal

Nglish: Translation of cereal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cereal for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cereal

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!