any plant of the grass family yielding an edible grain, as wheat, rye, oats, rice, or corn.
the grain itself.
some edible preparation of it, especially a breakfast food.
of or relating to grain or the plants producing it.
Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

any grass that produces an edible grain, such as oat, rye, wheat, rice, maize, sorghum, and millet
the grain produced by such a plant
any food made from this grain, esp breakfast food
(modifier) of or relating to any of these plants or their products: cereal farming

1832, “grass yielding edible grain,” originally an adjective (1818) “having to do with edible grain,” from French céréale (16c., “of Ceres;” 18c. in grain sense), from Latin Cerealis “of grain,” originally “of Ceres,” from Ceres, Italic goddess of agriculture, from PIE *ker-es-, from root *ker- “to grow” (see crescent). The application to breakfast food cereal made from grain is American English, 1899.
A grass, such as corn, rice, sorghum, or wheat, whose starchy grains are used as food. Cereals are annual plants, and cereal crops must be reseeded for each growing season. Cereal grasses were domesticated during the Neolithic Period and formed the basis of early agriculture.


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