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 callously

Contemporary Examples of callously

Historical Examples of callously

  • Callously, she had struck right and left for room to get to her feet.

  • “Send them a Christmas card, and be done with it,” cried Jill callously.

    Betty Trevor

    Mrs. G. de Horne Vaizey

  • He stared in wonder at his own wife as she told him his own heart so callously.

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

  • “Then I just took her knife and her food, and went,” the woman said, callously.

    The Woman from Outside

    Hulbert Footner

  • "You can say that for me, too," the lanista agreed, callously.


    Edward Elmer Smith

British Dictionary definitions for callously



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 callously



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 callously




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.