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1. Having calluses; toughened: callous skin on the elbow.
2. Emotionally hardened; unfeeling: a callous indifference to the suffering of others.
tr. & intr.v. cal·loused, cal·lous·ing, cal·lous·es
To make or become callous.

[Middle English, from Old French cailleux, from Latin callōsus, from callum, hard skin.]

cal′lous·ly adv.
cal′lous·ness n.
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. Also, do not confuse the verb callous, which means "to make or become callous," with the verb callus "to form or develop hardened tissue."
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



key-cold Completely lacking in personal warmth and compassion; emotionally frigid; apathetic. This expression is derived from a key’s metallic coldness, a property which was once thought to remedy nosebleeds. This obsolete phrase saw its heyday during the 1500s.

The consideration of his incomparable kindness could not … tail to inflame our key-cold hearts. (Sir Thomas More, Comfort Against Tribulation, 1534)

weep millstones Said sarcastically of a callous, hard-hearted person, implying that he is not likely to weep at all. This expression is probably derived from The Tale of Beryn (1400):

Tears … as great as any millstone. Since a millstone is a large stone that grinds grain in a mill, its use here is, of course, hyperbolic. This expression was used several times by Shakespeare; for example, in Richard III, Gloucester states:

Your eyes drop millstones, when fool’s eyes drop tears. (I, iii)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.callousness - devoid of passion or feeling; hardheartedness
insensitiveness, insensitivity - the inability to respond to affective changes in your interpersonal environment
dullness - lack of sensibility; "there was a dullness in his heart"; "without him the dullness of her life crept into her work no matter how she tried to compartmentalize it."
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun heartlessness, insensitivity, hardness, coldness, harshness, obduracy, soullessness, hardheartedness, obdurateness I find your statement breathtaking in its callousness and cynicism.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
غَلاظَه، قَسْوَه
tilfinningaleysi, kaldlyndi


[ˈkæləsnɪs] Ninsensibilidad f, crueldad f
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈkæləsnɪs] n
[crime] → inhumanité f
(= hard-heartedness) → manque m de cœur, insensibilité fcall-out charge call-out fee [ˈkɔːlaʊt] nfrais mpl de déplacement
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈkæləsnɪs] n (of person) → insensibilità; (of remark) → durezza
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈkӕləs) adjective
unfeeling; cruel. a callous person/attack.
ˈcallously adverb
ˈcallousness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
"Oh, he's done for," answered Lawson, with the cheerful callousness of his youth.
It seemed the last touch of his callousness. Being very much wrought up by this time--and Mrs.
A cruel thing happened just before supper, indicative of the callousness and brutishness of these men.
I rebuked her in terms of mingled bitterness and sorrow for her callousness and want of condescension.
And when I had told her she exclaimed with extraordinary callousness, "The book?
Lined and hardened, as though by exposure and want of personal care, there was also a lack of sensibility, an almost animal callousness, on the coldly lit eyes and unflinching mouth, which readily suggested some terrible and recent experience--something potent enough to have dried up the human nature out of the man and left him soulless.
He was used to the harsh callousness of factory girls and working women.
Living the old life, she was horrified at herself, at her utter insurmountable callousness to all her own past, to things, to habits, to the people she had loved, who loved her--to her mother, who was wounded by her indifference, to her kind, tender father, till then dearer than all the world.
Martin's brutality even now kindled in her a dull blazing anger, and as she realized what depths of feeling were in him, his callousness seemed intensified an hundred-fold.
I cannot describe the extraordinary callousness with which he made this reply.
He remembered with what callousness he had watched her.
In order to have produced such suffering in Mary, it seemed to her that he must have behaved with extreme callousness. It seemed to her that he had discarded the friendship, when it suited his convenience to do so, with some falsely philosophical theory which made his conduct all the worse.