1

callous

adjective cal·lous \ ˈka-ləs \
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of callous

1 a : being hardened and thickened
b : having calluses
  • callous hands
2 a : feeling no emotion
b : feeling or showing no sympathy for others : hard-hearted
  • a callous indifference to suffering

callously

adverb

callousness

noun

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Examples of callous in a Sentence

  1. … under Orton's own companionable charm there was something hard and callous, the result no doubt of a loveless upbringing … —Benedict NightingaleNew York Times Book Review10 May 1987
  2. … the scenes involving the snotty, callous dean ring false right from the start … —Pauline KaelNew Yorker8 Apr. 1985
  3. 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 Morning1954
  4. a selfish and callous young man

  5. a callous refusal to help the poor

Recent Examples of callous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'callous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 and Etymology of callous

Middle English, from Latin callosus, from callum, callus callous skin


2

callous

verb cal·lous \ ˈka-ləs \

Definition of callous

transitive verb
: to make callous
  • hands calloused by hard manual labor

Recent Examples of callous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'callous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of callous


CALLOUS Defined for English Language Learners

callous

adjective

Definition of callous for English Language Learners

  • : not feeling or showing any concern about the problems or suffering of other people


CALLOUS Defined for Kids

callous

adjective cal·lous \ ˈka-ləs \

Definition of callous for Students

: feeling or showing no sympathy for others
  • a callous refusal to help

Medical Dictionary

callous

adjective cal·lous \ ˈkal-əs \

medical Definition of callous

1 : being hardened and thickened
2 : having calluses


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