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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
joule \joule\ (j[=oo]l), n. [From the distinguished English physicist, James Prescott Joule (1818-1889).] (Physics.) A unit of work which is equal to 10^7 ergs (the unit of work in the C. G. S. system of units), and is equivalent to one watt-second, the energy expended in one second by an electric current of one ampere in a resistance of one ohm; also called the absolute joule. It is abbreviated J or j. The international joule is slightly larger, being 1.000167 times the absolute joule. The absolute joule is approximately equal to 0.737562 foot pounds, 0.239006 gram-calories (small calories), and 3.72506 x 10^-7 horsepower-hours, and 0.000948451 B.t.u. --HCP61 [1913 Webster +PJC] Joule's equivalent. See under Equivalent, n. [1913 Webster]