serial

adjective
se·​ri·​al | \ ˈsir-ē-əl How to pronounce serial (audio) \

Definition of serial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or arranged in a series, rank, or row serial order
2 : appearing in successive parts or numbers a serial story
3 : belonging to a series maturing periodically rather than on a single date serial bonds
4 : of, relating to, or being music based on a series of tones in a chosen pattern without regard for traditional tonality
5a : performing a series of similar acts over a period of time a serial killer
b : occurring in or involving such a series a serial murder
6 : relating to or being a connection in a computer system in which the bits of a byte are transmitted sequentially over a single wire — compare parallel

serial

noun

Definition of serial (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a work appearing (as in a magazine or on television) in parts at intervals
b : one part of a serial work : installment
2 : a publication (such as a newspaper or journal) issued as one of a consecutively numbered and indefinitely continued series

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Other Words from serial

Adjective

serially \ ˈsir-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce serial (audio) \ adverb

Examples of serial in a Sentence

Adjective The pictures are numbered and arranged in serial order. Scientists made serial observations over a period of two weeks. Noun the university library has a vast collection of serials
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective To create copies of a woman for her serial-killer son to murder. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "Which Into the Dark Episodes Are Worth Your Time?," 12 Feb. 2021 In the 1990s, Austrian serial killer Jack Unterwege lived there. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The True and Tragic Stories Beyond Hotel Cecil's Violent Fall From Grace," 10 Feb. 2021 An Ohio serial killer convicted of murdering 11 women in Cleveland died in prison Monday of a terminal illness, officials said. NBC News, "Cleveland serial killer who murdered 11 women dies in prison," 9 Feb. 2021 The teaser ends with a moth landing on Clarice's mouth as a nod to the poster for the 1991 horror-thriller that saw Jodie Foster as Clarice opposite Anthony Hopkins as cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Clarice tries to save the lambs, not silence them, in new Super Bowl trailer," 8 Feb. 2021 At his trial, Petty and fellow prosecutors portrayed the troubled teen as a serial killer who shot 51-year-old Doyle Douglas and 54-year-old Samuel Petrey in cold blood. Jessica Priest, USA Today, "Moonlighting prosecutor sent Texas man to death row; 17 years later, he could get a new trial," 4 Feb. 2021 But things go awry with the introduction of their prime suspect, Albert Sparma (Leto), an abundantly creepy, greasy-haired loner who feels out of serial-killer central casting. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, "Review: Hunting '90s killers again in 'The Little Things'," 26 Jan. 2021 The one on Amazon is the theatrical, in which Craig Sheffer plays a man who becomes convinced his therapist is a serial killer, and his own investigation leads him to a tribe of monsters. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 50 Best Movies on Peacock," 23 Jan. 2021 The four-episode series centers on Richard Ramirez, the serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles and San Francisco in the 1980s. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Does Netflix’s Night Stalker Go Too Far? Some Say Yes," 22 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now, with a waning Mr. Trump self-soothing with OANN and Newsmax and tweeting out the elaborate sci-fi serial that the election was stolen from him, command of that battle is returning from the White House to the field. New York Times, "The Tug-of-Culture-War Goes On," 14 Dec. 2020 Inspired by a ‘40s radio serial, the masterful comic centers on two Chinese American teenagers who must help the Man of Steel battle the KKK’s racial violence shortly after World War II. Washington Post, "2020 graphic novels and comic books: Five trends that defined the year," 19 Nov. 2020 Owners of Ring devices can find out if their doorbell is included in the recall by entering the serial, or S/N, number at http://support.ring.com/ring-2nd-gen-recall. Anchorage Daily News, "If you bought a Ring video doorbell this year, it might be a fire hazard," 11 Nov. 2020 The serial will be available for online viewing through May 2021. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New shows online: Skylight escapes to London, First Stage seeks 'Treasure' in Milwaukee," 19 Oct. 2020 Pattinson's preacher Preston Teagardin presents his own level of creepiness, with his insidious preacher serial-prowling on his young flock. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "You can't pray away Harry Melling's crawling spider sermon in Netflix's 'The Devil All the Time'," 16 Sep. 2020 Adventures of Superman radio serial, which fans can stream for 24 hours beginning at 1 p.m. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "Daniel Dae Kim, Wilson Cruz, and Tim Daly are all playing Superman for special DC FanDome event," 4 Sep. 2020 This short six-hour, non-credit course offered by The Chang School of Continuing Education covers the basics of podcast writing for a comedy or drama serial. Truc Nguyen, refinery29.com, "The Coolest Virtual Courses You Can Take At Canada’s Top Schools," 19 Aug. 2020 Colorado will have reduced the potential penalty for murderers of small children, mass murderers, and serial-killers. George Brauchler, The Denver Post, "Brauchler: Consequences of repealing the death penalty — more trials and re-trials of heinous murderers," 7 Feb. 2020

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

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First Known Use of serial

Adjective

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1834, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for serial

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Serial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/serial. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for serial

serial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of serial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: arranged or happening in a series
of a crime : committed many times usually in the same way
of a criminal : committing a series of crimes

serial

noun

English Language Learners Definition of serial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a story that is broadcast on television or radio or that is published in a magazine in separate parts over a period of time

serial

adjective
se·​ri·​al | \ ˈsir-ē-əl How to pronounce serial (audio) \

Kids Definition of serial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: arranged in or appearing in parts or numbers that follow a regular order a serial story

serial

noun

Kids Definition of serial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a story appearing (as in a magazine or on television) in parts at regular intervals

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Comments on serial

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