/kal"euh ree/, n.
1. Thermodynam.
a. Also called gram calorie, small calorie. an amount of heat exactly equal to 4.1840 joules. Abbr.: cal
b. (usually cap.) kilocalorie. Abbr.: Cal
2. Physiol.
a. a unit equal to the kilocalorie, used to express the heat output of an organism and the fuel or energy value of food.
b. a quantity of food capable of producing such an amount of energy.
Also, calory.
[1800-10; < F, equiv. to calor- ( < L calor heat) + -ie -Y3]

* * *

Unit of energy or heat.

Various precise definitions are used for different purposes (physical chemistry measurements, engineering steam tables, and thermochemistry), but in all cases the calorie is about 4.2 joules, the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 °C (1.8 °F) at normal atmospheric pressure. The calorie used by dietitians and food scientists and found on food labels is actually the kilocalorie (also called Calorie and abbreviated kcal or Cal), or 1,000 calories. It is a measure of the amount of heat energy or metabolic energy contained in the chemical bonds (see bonding) of a food.

* * *

▪ unit of measurement
      a unit of energy or heat variously defined. The calorie was originally defined as the amount of heat required at a pressure of 1 standard atmosphere to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1° Celsius. Since 1925 this calorie has been defined in terms of the joule, the definition since 1948 being that one calorie is equal to approximately 4.2 joules. Because the quantity of heat represented by the calorie is known to differ at different temperatures (by as much as 1 percent), it has consequently been necessary to define the temperature at which the specific heat of water is to be taken as 1 calorie. Thus the “15° calorie” (also called the gram-calorie, or small calorie) was defined as the amount of heat that will raise the temperature of 1 gram of water from 14.5° to 15.5° C—equal to 4.1855 joules. Other less common definitions in this series are the 20° calorie (4.18190 joules) from 19.5° to 20.5° C; and the mean calorie (4.19002 joules) defined as 1/100 of the heat necessary to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water from 0° to 100° C.

      Another calorie, a unit of heat energy, is the International Table calorie (IT calorie), originally defined as 1/860 international watt-hour. It is equal to 4.1868 joules and is used in engineering steam tables.

      A unit of heat energy used in thermochemistry is the thermochemical calorie, equal to 4.184 joules. It is commonly used as the unit for heat capacities, latent heats, and heats of reaction.

      In a popular use of the term calorie, dietitians loosely use it to mean the kilocalorie, sometimes called the kilogram calorie, or large Calorie (equal to 1,000 calories), in measuring the calorific, heating, or metabolizing value of foods. Thus, the “calories” counted for dietary reasons are in fact kilocalories, with the “kilo-” prefix omitted; in scientific notations a capitalized Calorie is used. In other words, if a peach is listed as having 40 Calories, this indicates that that peach has actually 40,000 calories.

      In nutrition it has been proposed that the kilojoule replace the kilocalorie as the unit of choice for discussing the energy value of foods. Such a change would bring the nomenclature of food scientists into closer agreement with that of other scientists. The conversion factor for expressing kilocalories as kilojoules, as recommended by the Committee on Nomenclature of the International Union of Nutritional Sciences, is 1 kilocalorie equals 4.184 kilojoules, based on the kilocalorie determined at 14.5° to 15.5° C. Although government publications now often provide energy counts in kilojoules and kilocalories, Calorie is still the most commonly used food energy unit around the world.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • calorie — [ kalɔri ] n. f. • 1824; lat. calor → chaleur 1 ♦ Métrol. Ancienne unité de mesure de quantité de chaleur (abrév. cal), valant 4,184 joules. vx Petite calorie : calorie. Grande calorie : 1 000 calories. ⇒ kilocalorie. 2 ♦ Unité de mesure de la… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Calorie — (unité) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Cal …   Wikipédia en Français

  • calorie — CALORÍE, calorii, s.f. Unitate de măsură egală cu cantitatea de căldură care ridică temperatura unui gram de apă distilată de la 19,5 la 20,5 °C; unitate de măsură care indică valoarea energetică a unui aliment. ♢ (fiz.) Calorie mare =… …   Dicționar Român

  • calorie — [kal′ə rē] n. [Fr < L calor, heat; akin to calere, to be warm < IE base * kel , warm > OE hlēowe, warm] 1. the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree celsius; gram calorie; small calorie 2.… …   English World dictionary

  • calorie — 1866, from Fr. calorie, from L. calor (gen. caloris) heat, from PIE *kle os , suffixed form of root *kele (1) warm (Cf. L. calidus warm, calere be hot; Skt. carad harvest, lit. hot time; Lith. silti …   Etymology dictionary

  • calorie — ► NOUN (pl. calories) 1) (also large calorie) a unit of energy, often used in specifying the energy value of foods, equal to the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water through 1 °C (4.1868 kilojoules). 2) (also small… …   English terms dictionary

  • calorie — originally a unit of heat (from Latin calor, ‘heat’), in the 20c has stepped out of the physics laboratory into general use as a measure of the energy value of food. The general public have adopted what physicists call the large calorie (i.e. the …   Modern English usage

  • Calorie — Cal o*rie, n. [F., fr. L. calor heat.] (Physics) The unit of heat according to the French standard; the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one kilogram (sometimes, one gram) of water one degree centigrade, or from 0[deg] to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Calorie — This article is about the unit of energy. For its use in nutrition and food labelling regulations, see the article on food energy. The calorie is a pre SI unit of energy, in particular, heat.International Standard ISO 31 4: Quantities and units – …   Wikipedia

  • Calorie — A unit of food energy. In nutrition terms, the word calorie is used instead of the more precise scientific term kilocalorie. A kilocalorie represents the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a liter of water one degree centigrade …   Medical dictionary