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[kal-uh-fawrn-yuh, -fawr-nee-uh] /ˌkæl əˈfɔrn yə, -ˈfɔr ni ə/
a state in the W United States, on the Pacific coast. 158,693 sq. mi. (411,015 sq. km).
Capital: Sacramento.
Abbreviation: CA (for use with zip code), Cal., Calif.
Gulf of, an arm of the Pacific Ocean, extending NW between the coast of W Mexico and the peninsula of Baja California. About 750 miles (1207 km) long; 62,600 sq. mi. (162,100 sq. km).
Related forms
Californian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for California
  • The couple have three sons and currently reside in beverly hills, California.
  • There also exists a history of basque culture in chino, California.
  • She quit a year later to be with her parents who had reunited in California.
  • He was interred in the hillside memorial park cemetery in culver city, California.
  • It is supervised by the seven justices of the supreme court of California.
  • He was approved for a tryout which entailed a move to los angeles, California.
  • The outdoor snow scenes were shot at big bear lake, California.
  • From then on concentration was played in southern California.
  • Three years later, the family moved to san francisco, California.
  • He had attended sunny hills high school in fullerton, California.
British Dictionary definitions for California


a state on the W coast of the US: the third largest state in area and the largest in population; consists of a narrow, warm coastal plain rising to the Coast Range, deserts in the south, the fertile central valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada in the east; major industries include the growing of citrus fruits and grapes, fishing, oil production, electronics, information technology, and films. Capital: Sacramento. Pop: 35 484 453 (2003 est). Area: 411 015 sq km (158 693 sq miles) Abbreviation Cal., Calif., (with zip code) CA
Gulf of California, an arm of the Pacific Ocean, between Sonora and Lower California
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for California
name of an imaginary realm in "Las sergas de Esplandián" ("Exploits of Espladán"), a romance by Sp. writer Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo, published in 1510, which was said to have been influential among Sp. explorers of the New World and may have led them to misidentify Baja California as this land and mistake it for an island. Where Montalvo got the name and what it means, if anything, is a mystery. Californian is attested from 1785. The element Californium (1950) was named in reference to University of California, where it was discovered.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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California in Culture

California definition

State in the Far West bordered by Oregon to the north; Nevada and Arizona to the east; Baja California, Mexico, to the south; and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Its capital is Sacramento, and its largest city is Los Angeles.

Note: During the California gold rush tens of thousands of people poured into California in search of gold. It is sometimes called the “Golden State.” (See forty-niners.)
Note: California is the most populous state. It is known for its earthquakes, high-tech industries (see Silicon Valley), and agriculture.
Note: The state is famous for all the fads and ideas that originate there, many of which are considered strange or eccentric.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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