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 serially (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 In the Netflix science fiction-thriller In the Shadow of the Moon (out. Sept. 27), Boyd Holbrook (Logan, The Predator) plays a Philadelphia cop named Thomas Lockhart who begins tracking a serial killer in 1988. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Boyd Holbrook is hell-bent on catching a killer in trailer for sci-fi thriller In the Shadow of the Moon," 16 Sep. 2019 Some belong to serial killers who have evaded detectives for decades; others to murder victims. Heather Murphy, New York Times, "Why This Scientist Keeps Receiving Packages of Serial Killers’ Hair," 16 Sep. 2019 Some experts believe that serial killers are responsible for a significant number of these unsolved murders. Rene Chun, The Atlantic, "Modern Life Has Made It Easier for Serial Killers to Thrive," 10 Sep. 2019 The persona of the creepy clown really came into its own after serial killer John Wayne Gacy was captured. Frank T. Mcandrew, Quartzy, "The psychology behind why we find clowns so creepy," 6 Sep. 2019 The movie itself was met with angry protests from both the moral police and early gay rights activists alike on account of its unsavory depiction of the culture as undercover cop Al Pacino tracks down a serial killer frequenting Manhattan clubs. Ron Hart, Billboard, "William Friedkin's 'Cruising': Director Reflects on Cult Classic's Eccentric Soundtrack," 6 Sep. 2019 Camp Crystal Lake becomes a hotbed of violence after an anonymous serial killer commits a series of gruesome murders. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "The Best '80s Horror Movies That Are Still Terrifying Today," 4 Sep. 2019 Harold Shipman was one of the most prolific serial killers in history. Hannah Fry, The New Yorker, "What Statistics Can and Can’t Tell Us About Ourselves," 2 Sep. 2019 Based on the real experiences of an FBI agent who initiated the bureau’s profiling of serial killers, the Netflix drama undoubtedly benefits from the American public’s timeless fascination with true crime. cleveland.com, "How the same actor ended up playing Charles Manson in ‘Mindhunter’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’," 23 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bob Dorian, an actor, magician and avuncular movie buff who presented more than 10,000 classic films, B-movie serials and pre-Code Hollywood gems as the first prime-time host of American Movie Classics, died June 15. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Bob Dorian, actor and magician who introduced classic films on AMC, dies at 85," 24 June 2019 In his book Murder in Plain English, Arntfield breaks down the top serial-killer professions, and finds that truckers are joined by police and military personnel, forestry workers, hotel porters, and warehouse managers, among others. Rene Chun, The Atlantic, "Modern Life Has Made It Easier for Serial Killers to Thrive," 10 Sep. 2019 For the Minnesota version, our editor at the time, Walker Lundy, assembled a team of 10 staffers — who quickly decided that the Minnesota State Fair would make the perfect setting for the serial. Larry Millett, Twin Cities, "From the archives: Murder-on-a-stick: A Pioneer Press serial mystery novel (Chapter 1)," 21 Aug. 2019 Hopefully, this reboot will charm audiences in the same way that the first radio serial did back in the 1970s. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Hulu is developing a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series," 24 July 2019 There are exceptions, like lifelong serial killers. German Lopez, Vox, "Cory Booker has a plan to reform the criminal justice system — without Congress," 20 June 2019 An accused serial bank robber from Missouri is in custody in Alabama, accused of three holdups here and many more outside of the state. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Accused serial bank robber sought in 3 states charged in Homewood holdup, jailed in Montgomery," 23 Aug. 2019 In Los Angeles, there are no big-name serial cases on investigators' radar. James Queally, latimes.com, "From Golden State Killer to Grim Sleeper, DNA helping break serial killer mysteries from 1970s and 1980s," 29 Apr. 2018 There wasn’t a drama, a soap, a serial or a chat show that could do that. Vanita Kohli-khandekar, Quartz India, "How Rupert Murdoch saved KBC from being merely Kaun Banega Lakhpati," 22 July 2019

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

12 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for serial

The first known use of serial was in 1823

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More Definitions for serial

serial

adjective
How to pronounce serial (audio)

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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