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callous

[kal-uhs]
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adjective
  1. made hard; hardened.
  2. insensitive; indifferent; unsympathetic: They have a callous attitude toward the sufferings of others.
  3. having a callus; indurated, as parts of the skin exposed to friction.
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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to make or become hard or callous.
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Origin of callous

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin callōsus hard-skinned, tough, equivalent to call(um) tough skin, any hard substance + -ōsus -ous
Related formscal·lous·ly, adverbcal·lous·ness, nounun·cal·lous, adjectiveun·cal·lous·ly, adverbun·cal·lous·ness, noun
Can be confusedcallous callus

Synonyms

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1. hard. 2. inured, insensible, obtuse. See hard.

Antonyms

1. soft. 2. sensitive.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for callous

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I think you will be able to take care of yourself in a cold and callous world.

  • He was hardened, steeped in guilt, and callous as to the sufferings of others.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • What a gladdening result for the sensation-loving minds of the callous!

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Is it the frequency of the punishment that has made you callous to the ignominy and the pain?

  • Imogen was deaf to their expostulations, and indurate and callous as adamant to their persuasions.

    Imogen

    William Godwin


British Dictionary definitions for callous

callous

adjective
  1. unfeeling; insensitive
  2. (of skin) hardened and thickened
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verb
  1. pathol to make or become callous
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Derived Formscallously, adverbcallousness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin callōsus; see callus
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

Word Origin and History for callous

adj.

c.1400, "hardened," in the physical sense, from Latin callosus "thick-skinned," from callus, callum "hard skin" (see callus). The figurative sense of "unfeeling" appeared in English by 1670s. Related: Callously; callousness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

callous in Medicine

callous

(kăləs)
adj.
  1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a callus or callosity.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.