Simple Definition of callous
: not feeling or showing any concern about the problems or suffering of other people
Examples of callous in a sentence
… under Orton's own companionable charm there was something hard and callous, the result no doubt of a loveless upbringing … —Benedict Nightingale, New York Times Book Review, 10 May 1987
… the scenes involving the snotty, callous dean ring false right from the start … —Pauline Kael, New Yorker, 8 Apr. 1985
Patient, cold and callous, our hands wrapped in socks, we waited to snowball the cats. —Dylan Thomas, “A Child's Christmas in Wales” in Quite Early One Morning, 1954
a selfish and callous young man
a callous refusal to help the poor
Did You Know?
A callus is a hard, thickened area of skin that develops usually from friction or irritation over time. Such a hardened area often leaves one less sensitive to the touch, so it's no surprise that the adjective callous, in addition to describing skin that is hard and thick, can also be used as a synonym for "harsh" or "insensitive." Both callus and callous derive via Middle English from Latin. The figurative sense of callous entered English almost 300 years after the literal sense, and Robert Louis Stevenson used it aptly when he wrote, in Treasure Island, "But, indeed, from what I saw, all these buccaneers were as callous as the sea they sailed on."
Origin of callous
Middle English, from Latin callosus, from callum, callus callous skin
First Known Use: 15th century
Origin of callous
First Known Use: 1834
CALLOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of callous for Students
: feeling or showing no sympathy for others <a callous refusal to help>
Medical Definition of callous
1: being hardened and thickened
2: having calluses
Seen and Heard
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