Definition of calorie in English:


(also cal.)


  • 1Either of two units of heat energy.

    • ‘One calorie of heat is equivalent to 4.2 joules of work.’
    • ‘I feel a small fury begin to build, but inside I feel nothing, not a single calorie of heat.’
    • ‘He showed that when 4.184 joules of work is done, 1.0 calorie of heat is produced.’
    • ‘By contrast, it takes only about 6 calories of heat to melt one gram of lead.’
    • ‘Only after we've squeezed every wasted kilowatthour or leaking calorie of heat out of our homes and businesses should we focus on generating more power.’
    1. 1.1The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C (now usually defined as 4.1868 joules)
    2. 1.2The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water through 1 °C, equal to one thousand small calories and often used to measure the energy value of foods.
      • ‘Physical activity helps control weight by burning excess calories that would otherwise be stored as fat.’
      • ‘By 1986, I was taking in 5,000 calories per day in the offseason.’
      • ‘A dieter needs a higher percentage of calories from protein just like an athlete does.’
      • ‘They are helpful because they contain about 100 calories of carbohydrate energy, with varying amounts of vitamins and minerals.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, that much juice will add hundreds of excess sugar calories to your diet.’
      • ‘"Five hundred calories per hour, " she muttered and stabbed her ski poles meaningfully into the soft snow.’
      • ‘No more than 30 percent of all the calories your child eats should be fat calories.’
      • ‘Experts recommend that active women get at least 55 percent of their calories from carbs.’
      • ‘Each pound of fat your body stores represents 3,500 calories of unused energy.’
      • ‘A good way to provide additional protein without adding extra calories is by using a protein powder.’
      • ‘Because a greater percentage of fat is burned at lower intensities, people assume more fat calories are expended.’
      • ‘Although sugar is lower in total calories per gram than fat, it contributes mightily to a fatty frame.’
      • ‘They can be entertaining, but it's like eating empty calories.’
      • ‘Researchers also advocate walking an extra mile each day to burn extra calories consumed.’
      • ‘Playing basketball can burn about 420 calories per hour.’
      • ‘A good laugh can burn up as many calories per hour as brisk walking.’
      • ‘Less than 30 percent of your total daily calories should come from fat.’
      • ‘Donnelly speculates that women may burn fewer calories during their workouts because they are physically smaller than men.’
      • ‘However, calories are calories, and to lose weight, you need to cut back.’
      • ‘Calories from carbohydrates provide energy, while protein is needed for growth and tissue repair.’


Mid 19th century: from French, from Latin calor heat + French suffix -ie (see -y).