Physics Concepts and Definitions

What does the term calorie actually mean?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks


  1. A calorie is a unit of measurement used to calculate the amount of energy, or heat, absorbed or released by a given substance. A single calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram (0.35 fluid ounce) of water by 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit). In the physical sciences, the calorie as a unit of energy has been replaced by the joule; one calorie equals 4.184 joules.

    BTUs (British thermal units) are also used to measure energy; a BTU is equal to 252 calories, or the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water (0.45 kilograms) by one degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degrees Celsius).

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