General English


  • noun a type of grass which is cultivated for its grains. Cereals are used especially to make flour for breadmaking, for animal feed or for producing alcohol.


  • The edible grains of monocotyledons such as wheat, rice, barley, maize, oats, etc. which may be eaten whole or ground into flour. Together with starchy roots they are the main source of energy carbohydrates for humans.

Origin & History of “cereal”

Cereal is a comparatively modern introduction of the Latin adjective cereālis ‘of grain’, which was derived from the name of Cerēs, the Roman goddess of agriculture (identified with Greek Demeter). It has, needless to say, no connection with serial (see (series)).