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- Abbreviation for CalorieA unit of energy equal to 4.184 J; abbreviated cal.; a nutritional calorie, equal to 1000 cal = 1 kcal; a unitA particular measure of a physical quantity that is used to express the magnitude of the physical quantity; for example, the meter is the unit of the physical quantity, length. of energyA system's capacity to do work. equal to 4184 J.