Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several approximately equal units of heat, each measured as the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1°C from a standard initial temperature, especially from 3.98°C, 14.5°C, or 19.5°C, at 1 atmosphere pressure. Also called gram calorie, small calorie.
  • n. The unit of heat equal to 1/100 the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water from 0 to 100°C at 1 atmosphere pressure. Also called mean calorie.
  • n. The unit of heat equal to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1°C at 1 atmosphere pressure. Also called kilocalorie, kilogram calorie, large calorie.
  • n. A unit of energy-producing potential equal to this amount of heat that is contained in food and released upon oxidation by the body. Also called nutritionist's calorie.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the gram calorie or small calorie, a non-SI unit of energy, equivalent to approximately 4.2 joules. This unit was widely used in chemistry and physics, being the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C.
  • n. kilogram calorie or large calorie. A unit of energy 1000 times larger than the gram calorie. It is equivalent to the gram kilocalorie, approximately 4.2 kilojoules.

Etymologies

French, from Latin calor, heat; see caloric.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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