Definition of serial in English:


Line breaks: ser¦ial
Pronunciation: /ˈsɪərɪəl


  • 1Consisting of, forming part of, or taking place in a series: a serial publication
    More example sentences
    • The journal begins serial publication this spring.
    • Primary outputs are defined as publications in the serial peer reviewed literature, while the secondary outputs are taken to be evidence based clinical guidelines.
    • It does not hold annual meetings or sponsor a serial publication.
  • 1.1 Linguistics (Of verbs) used in sequence to form a construction, as in they wanted, needed, longed for peace: the use of serial verbs
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    • Similarly, in the Pacific, it has been suggested that there may be Austronesian substratum influence in the serial constructions found in Tok Pisin.
  • 2Repeatedly committing the same offence and typically following a characteristic, predictable behaviour pattern: a serial killer
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    • By throwing an odd assortment of characters into the path of a home-grown serial killer, the film is able to achieve a dramatic density sadly absent from the genre for a number of years.
    • So he may just be able to track down a serial killer with a penchant for committing perfect murders.
    • These guys all follow set patterns and, like any good movie serial killer, they're too open and flamboyant in their actions.
  • 2.1Repeatedly following the same behaviour pattern: he was a serial adulterer serial monogamy
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    • Despite the family image, a book of revelations published by a former chauffeur has painted Chirac as a serial adulterer.
    • He gives orders for other human beings to be blown away and he is a serial adulterer, but his power has unexpected limits.
    • He was also a serial adulterer, regularly confessing his sins before committing them afresh.
  • 3 Music Using transformations of a fixed series of notes: the harmonic flow of serial music Schoenberg’s serial revolution
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    • He also for a brief time came under the influence of Schoenberg and wrote serial music, all of which (if I remember right) he destroyed.
    • For example, forty years ago, not composing serial music meant not being a composer at all, and this was a clear tendency openly registered in books, articles and papers.
    • Powers's music from the 1980s deploys a considered synthesis of serial, atonal and tonal techniques.
  • 4 Computing (Of a device) involving the transfer of data as a single sequence of bits.
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    • The controller can concurrently perform the data transfer to and/or from the parallel and serial devices.
    • It is even possible to add servers with a click of a mouse while supporting BIOS-level control of almost any number of servers or serial devices.
    • You will see a list of serial devices; note that some will be built-in on your motherboard.
  • 4.1(Of a processor) running only a single task, as opposed to multitasking.
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    • A serial processor executes each iteration through the loop, doing all the work.
    • Besides, all neural networks at the moment are simulations that are written in software of an essentially serial nature which runs on serial processors.
    • If it won't run on serial processors, then where is the parallel machine that it will run on?


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  • 1A story or play appearing in regular instalments on television or radio or in a magazine or newspaper: a new three-part drama serial
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    • Each story in the serial would last a week, being spread over 5 weekday episodes.
    • The success of this venture as a magazine serial preceding the book, has the writer planning a sequel.
    • Fox is quite a rarity on television, as it is unusual for a serial of the time and of such length to have one author and one director.
  • 2 (usually serials) (In a library) a periodical: [as modifier]: the Serials Librarian
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    • Hopper also told the senate that there has been about a 25 percent decline in the number of serials purchased by the library in the past five years.
    • So when we built the Library at SLAC, we put the serials on punch cards.
    • She became a regular columnist for the Associated Negro Press and contributed poetry and reviews to numerous serials and collections.



Pronunciation: /-ɪˈalɪti/
More example sentences
  • The postcard can be thought of as an ambivalent object, produced between spatial and temporal locations, between seriality and personalization.
  • Not only does their very seriality suggest a relentless stream of crime, but the programmes themselves are organised around the repetitive replay of similar footage.
  • She has developed a means by which to make chance contend with narrative; lyricism with cacophony and seriality.


More example sentences
  • We can conclude that the course of the play is so arranged that the significance of characters, their appearance, the progress of the scenes are all arranged serially.
  • Because average life expectancy was only 21 years, most elders had several spouses - but serially.
  • Faithful to her code, Lily is serially monogamous: she dumps each man after a newer, bigger fish swims into view.


mid 19th century: from series + -al, perhaps suggested by French sérial.

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