• callous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KAL-us\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
a : being hardened and thickened b : having calluses
2
a : feeling no emotion b : feeling or showing no sympathy for others : hard-hearted
  • EXAMPLES

The company responsible for the fuel leak demonstrated callous disregard for the welfare of the people who lived downstream.

"One of the most remarkable achievements of Carthage is Cressida Mayfield herself, and how utterly unlikable she remains…. Strong-willed yet sensitive, Cressida has a callous attitude toward others for which Oates peppers the story with vague explanations." —From a book review by Elizabeth Langemak on Philly.com, February 23, 2014

  • 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."

Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "callous": i_h_m_n_. The answer is …

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