The candela is the base unit of luminous intensity measurement in the International System of Units (SI). That is: luminous power per unit solid angle emitted by a point light source in a particular direction.
Luminous intensity is analogous to radiant intensity, but instead of simply adding up the contributions of every wavelength of light in the source's spectrum, the contribution of each wavelength is weighted by the standard luminosity function (a model of the sensitivity of the human eye to different wavelengths).
A common wax candle emits light with a luminous intensity of roughly one candela. If emission in some directions is blocked by an opaque barrier, the emission would still be approximately one candela in the directions that are not obscured.
The word candela is Latin for candle. The old name "candle" is still sometimes used, as in the foot-candle and the modern definition of candlepower.