Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having calluses; toughened: callous skin on the elbow.
  • adj. Emotionally hardened; unfeeling: a callous indifference to the suffering of others.
  • transitive v. To make or become callous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Emotionally hardened; unfeeling and indifferent to the suffering/feelings of others.
  • adj. Having calluses.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Hardened; indurated.
  • adj. Hardened in mind; insensible; unfeeling; unsusceptible.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Hard; hardened; indurated, as an ulcer, or the skin on some part of the body from exposure to continuous pressure or friction: as, “a callous cicatrice,” ; “a callous ulcer,”
  • Hardened in mind or feelings; insensible; unfeeling: as, “the callous diplomatist,”
  • In entomology, swollen and smooth: as, a callous margin, one very thick and irregularly rounded or lumpy. Synonyms
  • To harden or make callous.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having calluses; having skin made tough and thick through wear
  • adj. emotionally hardened
  • v. make insensitive or callous; deaden feelings or morals

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French cailleux, from Latin callōsus, from callum, hard skin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin callōsus ("hard-skinned"), from callum ("hardened skin") + -ōsus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • State Department spokesman Mark Toner says Gbagbo's continued efforts to force a result that he could not obtain at the ballot box show what he calls a "callous disregard for the welfare of the Ivorian people, who will again suffer amid renewed heavy fighting in Abidjan."

    Gbagbo Forces Deny Attacking UN, Ouattara Compound

  • The summit also strongly condemned what it called a callous attack on the United Nations refugee camp at Gatumba on Friday in which about 160 people were killed.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The South African Society of Journalists on Thursday condemned what it described as the callous attitude of the Argus Company in offering its Sunday Star staff one of "the worst termination packages seen in the industry in years".

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • A handful of protesters drowned him out for at least three minutes, assailing Gingrich for what they called a "callous attitude toward poor people."

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • Van Hollen criticized House Speaker John Boehner for what he described as a "callous" attitude toward the prospect of American job loss in the face of budget cuts, and argued that Republicans were taking the "wrong approach" toward mending the economy.

    Breaking News: CBS News

  • A handful of people seated in a campus auditorium on Wednesday assailed Gingrich for what they called a "callous attitude toward poor people."

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Well, with all the rhetoric that came out of B. Hussein Obama and the rest of the Democrats in their malevolent attacks criticisms of the B.sh Administration in regard to what they termed callous invasions of the privacy of U.S. citizens (monitoring of certain suspect international telephone communications and accessing bank accounts believed to be part of terrorism financing networks), this one sure is a shocker, isn't it?

    Hard Astarboard

  • Mr. Konop also criticized Mr. Gerken for what he described as a callous disregard for the welfare of puppies.

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  • On Tuesday, Ward vowed to fight ceaselessly at today's 10a.m. meeting, especially, she said, because the Republican members took power in what she called a callous way.

    News & Observer: Home Page

  • The maternal object is described as callous, indifferent, given to spiteful aggressions or exploitations of the only, beautiful, talented, or brilliant child.

    Clinical Work with Adolescents

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Comments

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  • "USAGE NOTE: Do not confuse the adjective callous, as in Years of dealing with criminals had left her callous, with the noun callus, as in I have a callus on my thumb. The verbs callous and callus mean respectively 'to make or become callous' and 'to form or develop hardened tissue.'"

    --The American Heritage Dictionary

    September 17, 2010