Definition of cereal in US English:



  • 1A grain used for food, such as wheat, oats, or corn.

    • ‘Instant food mixes from cereals, pulses and nuts and other nutritious preparations from locally available foods are taught during the training courses with demos.’
    • ‘Prepared from germinated and sprouted grain and cereals, their food is rich in various nutrients, vitamins and enzymes and also helps in curing constipation, acidity, piles and skin diseases.’
    • ‘The higher inflation levels as observed in November were largely attributed to rising food prices especially mealie meal, maize grain, cereals and cereal products, meat, fish and kapenta.’
    • ‘A shift is noticed from cereals to other food items of lesser nutrition among the poor.’
    • ‘Food was seen as a sun-product, of which the cereals wheat and barley were the sacred, life-giving staples.’
    • ‘Put simply, we all know that water is required for the production of food such as cereals, vegetables, and meat and dairy products.’
    • ‘She advises women to eat leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, cereals, and pulses and avoid spicy or tinned food and bakery products.’
    • ‘Grains and cereals are the best food source for B-complex vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium.’
    • ‘Carbohydrates are what we consume in the largest quantities in foods like rice, wheat, cereals, as well as those made from refined flour such as biscuits, cakes and breads.’
    • ‘With current prices for certain cereal grains relatively high, particularly quality wheat and malting barley, world output of these cereals in 2003 is expected to increase.’
    • ‘The World Food Programme has enough cereals to last until April, but will run out of the less important vegetable oil and pulses by the month's end, said programme spokesman Peter Smerdon.’
    • ‘These recommendations reflect a growing consensus that a healthy diet should be based on starch-rich foods such as cereals and should include generous quantities of fruit and vegetables.’
    • ‘They believe that people with autism may suffer from a metabolic abnormality which prevents them from properly digesting gluten, a protein that comes from wheat and other cereals, or caseine, which comes from milk.’
    • ‘The inclusion rates of finely ground feed should be kept to a minimum (for example, ground cereals, maize gluten).’
    • ‘What does exist is an international trade in surpluses of grain, cereals and meat dumped primarily by rich countries and corporations.’
    • ‘Any risk of a return to rural conditions was a sign of social regression, and when inferior cereals replaced wheat in the markets, city authorities would be forced to requisition supplies elsewhere for fear of riots.’
    • ‘He advocated a meatless diet of rough cereals and whole wheat products along with vegetables and fruits.’
    • ‘There are few governments that chose to rely on imports of basic cereals (wheat, rice, etc.)’
    • ‘However, the protein in legumes is ‘incomplete’, and if it is to give full value it has to be complemented by foods, notably cereals, which supply the missing elements.’
    • ‘Eating a nutrient-rich, calorie-poor diet that includes lots of grains and cereals, as well as fruit and veggies, can make your real age as much as four years younger than your chronological age.’
    cereal crops
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually cereals A grass producing a cereal grain, grown as an agricultural crop.
      as modifier ‘low yields for cereal crops’
      • ‘Starch granules of several size classes are found in the endosperm of cereals such as wheat.’
      • ‘The current period constitutes the harvest phase for most cereals in Zambia including maize, which is coming on the market from small and medium-scale farmers.’
      • ‘The LBK economy was based on cattle husbandry and the cultivation of cereals, mainly wheat and barley.’
      • ‘The winning presentation compared the use of various levels of untreated dairy sludge and vermicomposted dairy sludge for growing vegetables, cereals, grass and flowers.’
      • ‘The light soils of the countryside to the east were suitable for raising sheep, which provided the fertilizer for growing cereals such as barley, wheat and rye.’
      • ‘There is compelling evidence indicating that, in some cereals such as maize, barley, rice, and wheat, cytosolic AGPase accounts for the major AGPase activity in the endosperm.’
      • ‘If you grow cereals and sugar beet on the arable land of the East Riding you are not going to be able to directly market your production.’
      • ‘Agriculture includes livestock-rearing, viticulture, and crops such as cereals, sugar beet, and potatoes.’
      • ‘Maize silage and whole crop cereals (eg triticale) are two such alternative forages.’
      • ‘Indeed, in the absence of amylase starch is not degraded, and anoxia-intolerant cereals such as wheat and barley suffer soon from sugar starvation, and eventually die.’
      • ‘Among important cereals, the wheat genome with 16,000 Mb is the largest and rice with 415 Mb is the smallest.’
      • ‘Scientists will be able to use the completed rice genome as a template for their work with the other cereals, such as wheat and maize.’
      • ‘The grasses used may be native to the area or specially introduced species such as rye grass, fescue, or bent grasses, although sometimes cereals such as barley or oats are used.’
      • ‘The limitations of peasant agriculture reflected the intense concern with growing cereals.’
      • ‘In contrast to cereals or other crops, legumes are known to acidify the rhizosphere even when supplied with nitrates.’
      • ‘The Voakes family, who keep 400 breeding sows and also grow sugar beet and cereals, have recently set up a business to bake premium quality pork pies on the farm - using pork from their own pigs.’
      • ‘The food value is equal to that of cultivated cereals and today many want to increase Canada's production for human benefit as a nutritious food source but also to supply food to waterfowl for increased game hunting.’
      • ‘Conventional C3 photosynthesis is used by rice, wheat and most other cereals.’
      • ‘Hermada is a multi-function cereal whose grains can be used to replace rice or wheat, and its blades of grass can be transformed into sweeps.’
      • ‘And as well as that, you've got the fungus that infects the flowers of rye and wheat and other cereals, and it produces hallucinogenic alkaloids, basically precursors to LSD.’
    2. 1.2 A breakfast food made from roasted grain, typically eaten with milk.
      ‘a bowl of cereal’
      as modifier ‘a cereal box’
      • ‘They accept that a bowl of cereal and milk is about as convenient as you get, but they want more choice.’
      • ‘Only in America could a café sell just breakfast cereal.’
      • ‘They all looked at me and I just sat down and I got an empty bowl and the box of cereal and the milk and I fixed my breakfast.’
      • ‘Daily Echo readers can help support the charity by donating tinned food, breakfast cereal, tea and coffee this month.’
      • ‘Though it played on my mind for some time, I decided that I was not going to purchase my usual choice of Hubbards breakfast cereal.’
      • ‘The pair struck up a solid partnership, living together under the same roof and talking football over breakfast cereal and late night takeaways.’
      • ‘Smoothies make for a great alternative from cereal and toast at breakfast.’
      • ‘A good source of this would be a fortified breakfast cereal.’
      • ‘He eats cereal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and sometimes for snacks in between.’
      • ‘She decided to have toast for breakfast instead of cereal since she had gotten up earlier than usual.’
      • ‘Menus offer a choice of hot food for breakfast, with cereal and toast, three hot choices and a salad bar for lunch and two hot choices and a salad bar for supper.’
      • ‘The donation was in the form of breakfast cereal given to students to ensure that their first meal of the day was nutritious.’
      • ‘The teachers had put out a bunch of pop tarts and little boxes of cereal for breakfast.’
      • ‘Add half a cup of Fiber One or All-Bran to increase the fiber content of your favorite breakfast cereal.’
      • ‘It's more the kind of book that lives on the kitchen table for a time, to be picked up and flipped through over breakfast cereal.’
      • ‘One vet dealt with an iguana which had been fed on breakfast cereal and milk and kept loose in a bedroom with no source of ultraviolet light.’
      • ‘There in the kitchen, they made a feeble breakfast of cereal and milk.’
      • ‘She headed downstairs, and had a bowl of cereal for breakfast.’
      • ‘There was plenty of milk, but no breakfast cereal to enjoy it with.’
      • ‘It takes me 2 hours of writing down pros and cons before I can decide what cereal I want for breakfast.’


Early 19th century (as an adjective): from Latin cerealis, from Ceres.