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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."



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)

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."


noun heartlessness, insensitivity, hardness, coldness, harshness, obduracy, soullessness, hardheartedness, obdurateness I find your statement breathtaking in its callousness and cynicism.
غَلاظَه، قَسْوَه
tilfinningaleysi, kaldlyndi


[ˈkæləsnɪs] Ninsensibilidad f, crueldad f


[ˈkæləsnɪs] n
[crime] → inhumanité f
(= hard-heartedness) → manque m de cœur, insensibilité fcall-out charge call-out fee [ˈkɔːlaʊt] nfrais mpl de déplacement



[ˈkæləsnɪs] n (of person) → insensibilità; (of remark) → durezza


(ˈkӕləs) adjective
unfeeling; cruel. a callous person/attack.
ˈcallously adverb
ˈcallousness noun
References in classic literature ?
She, however, was the first to speak; and she did so with a callousness that shocked him.
He remembered with what callousness he had watched her.
It is useless, and the time awfully fails me, to prolong this description; no one has ever suffered such torments, let that suffice; and yet even to these, habit brought--no, not alleviation--but a certain callousness of soul, a certain acquiescence of despair; and my punishment might have gone on for years, but for the last calamity which has now fallen, and which has finally severed me from my own face and nature.
The nervous fatigue of this existence, the insincerities and platitudes which I had to live through twice over--through my inner and outward sense--would have been maddening to me, if I had not had that sort of intoxicated callousness which came from the delights of a first passion.
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 rebuked her in terms of mingled bitterness and sorrow for her callousness and want of condescension.
I cannot describe the extraordinary callousness with which he made this reply.
Oh, he's done for," answered Lawson, with the cheerful callousness of his youth.
In order to have produced such suffering in Mary, it seemed to her that he must have behaved with extreme callousness.
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.