cal·​o·​ric·​i·​ty | \ ˌkaləˈrisətē \
plural -es

Definition of caloricity

: physiological ability to develop and maintain bodily heat

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History and Etymology for caloricity

borrowed from French caloricité, from calorique caloric entry 1 + ité -ity

Note: French caloricité was introduced by the physiologist and anatomist François Chaussier (1746-1828) in an essay on substances végétales published in the Journal de l’École polytechnique (Deuxième cahier, Nivôse, An IV [1795]), p. 189: “Si la nature de cette force active est encore inconnue, du moins ses effets sont évidens; son existence est démontrée d’une manière indubitable, par trois grandes propriétés constantes et essentielles, que nous désignons sous les noms de sensibilité, motilité et caloricité … nous comprenons, sous le nom de caloricité, la propriété qu’ont les êtres vivans de développer, de dégager une certaine quantité de calorique, et par ce moyen d’entretenir, de conserver une température habituelle, à-peu-près égale dans toutes leurs parties, et qui ne varie que par des causes accidentelles.” (“If the nature of this active force is still unknown, its effects nonetheless are evident; its existence is demonstrated in an unquestionable manner by three great constant and essential properties, that we designate by the names sensibility, motility, and caloricity … We understand by caloricity the property that living beings possess of developing, of releasing a certain quantity of caloric, and by this means of maintaining and conserving a regular temperature, approximately equal in all parts, which varies only from accidental causes.”)

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Cite this Entry

“Caloricity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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