[ kal-uh-fawrn-yuh, -fawr-nee-uh ]
/ ˌkæl əˈfɔrn yə, -ˈfɔr ni ə /
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a state in the western United States, on the Pacific coast. 158,693 square miles (411,015 square kilometers). Capital: Sacramento. Abbreviations: CA (for use with zip code), Cal., Calif.
Gulf of California, an arm of the Pacific Ocean, extending northwest between the coast of western Mexico and the peninsula of Baja California. About 750 miles (1,207 kilometers) long; 62,600 square miles (162,100 square kilometers).
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Cal·i·for·nian, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use California in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for California

/ (ˌkælɪˈfɔːnɪə) /

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

Cultural definitions for California


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.

notes for California

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.)

notes for California

California is the most populous state. It is known for its earthquakes, high-tech (see also high-tech) industries (see Silicon Valley), and agriculture.

notes for California

The state is famous for all the fads and ideas that originate there, many of which are considered strange or eccentric.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.