Serial means arranged in a series. If you get a serial number with your new phone, that's a number assigned to the phone when it was made, to distinguish it from all the other phones.

Serial has nothing do to with breakfast (that's cereal). It means "in regular succession." If you make a deposit into your savings every week without fail, those are serial payments. You might not recognize grandma after her serial plastic surgeries. A serial killer kills multiple times in similar ways. If you publish a magazine that comes out periodically, you could call it a serial. And your favorite recurring show on TV is a serial too.

Definitions of serial
  1. adjective
    pertaining to or occurring in or producing a series
    serial monogamy”
    serial killing”
    “a serial killer”
    serial publication”
  2. adjective
    pertaining to or composed in serial technique
    serial music”
  3. adjective
    of or relating to the sequential performance of multiple operations
    serial processing”
    synonyms: in series, nonparallel
    not synchronous; not occurring or existing at the same time or having the same period or phase
  4. adjective
    in regular succession without gaps
    serial concerts”
    synonyms: consecutive, sequent, sequential, successive
    having a systematic arrangement; especially having elements succeeding in order according to rule
  5. noun
    a serialized set of programs
    synonyms: series
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    soap opera
    a serialized program usually dealing with sentimentalized family matters that is broadcast on radio or television (frequently sponsored by a company advertising soap products)
    a series of four related works (plays or operas or novels)
    type of:
    broadcast, program, programme
    a radio or television show
  6. noun
    a periodical that appears at scheduled times
    synonyms: serial publication, series
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    a periodical that is published twice each week (or 104 issues per year)
    a periodical that is published every week (or 52 issues per year)
    a periodical that is published twice each month (or 24 issues per year)
    a periodical that is published every month (or 12 issues per year)
    a periodical that is published every quarter (or four issues per year)
    a periodical that is published twice a month or every two months (either 24 or 6 issues per year)
    a periodical that is published twice a week or every two weeks (either 104 or 26 issues per year)
    type of:
    a publication that appears at fixed intervals
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