made hard; hardened.
insensitive; indifferent; unsympathetic: They have a callous attitude toward the sufferings of others.
having a callus; indurated, as parts of the skin exposed to friction.

verb (used with or without object)

to make or become hard or callous.

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 for callous

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

Antonyms for callous

1. soft. 2. sensitive. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for callouses

Historical Examples of callouses

  • You, too, should have callouses on your emotions by this time.

  • But there was a sparkle in his eyes, an ease of movement and callouses on his hands.

    Trading Jeff and his Dog

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • They were large and shapely, but the only callouses they could show were accusingly recent.

    The Real Man

    Francis Lynde

  • On my word the good wife and mother hasn't the kinks out of her fingers yet, nor the callouses from her hands, by Jove!

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But the world, which veils the spirit and callouses the instincts, makes curiosity for most people the criterion of interest.

    The Story of Opal

    Opal Whiteley

British Dictionary definitions for callouses



unfeeling; insensitive
(of skin) hardened and thickened


pathol to make or become callous
Derived Formscallously, adverbcallousness, noun

Word Origin for callous

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 callouses



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for callouses




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