Insensitive or indifferent to the feelings or suffering of others


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



unfeeling, heartless, insensitive, uncaring, cruel, unsympathetic


compassionate, sensitive, caring, empathetic, tenderhearted, kind

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun callousnesses, callosities, callosity, callousness
Verb callouses, calloused, callous, callousing
Adjective callous
Adverb callously

Example Sentences

  • The callous employer showed no regard for the well-being of their overworked employees.

  • His callous indifference to the plight of the homeless population was disheartening.

  • The callous remarks of the politician displayed a complete lack of empathy for marginalized communities.

  • The callous actions of the poacher threatened the survival of endangered species in the region.


The word “callous” finds its origins in the Latin term “callum,” meaning “hard skin.” Originally used in a physical sense, the word gradually acquired a figurative meaning associated with insensitivity or a lack of compassion. “Callous” serves as an adjective that describes individuals or behaviors marked by indifference, emotional hardness, or a disregard for the suffering of others.

The suffix “-ous” in “callous” signifies the quality or characteristic of being callous. The root “call-” relates to hardness or toughness, reflecting the original physical connotation. This combination captures the essence of the word, emphasizing a figurative hardening of emotions or empathy.

The usage of “callous” often pertains to people who display a lack of sympathy, empathy, or concern towards others’ pain or distress. It implies an emotional insensitivity or a tendency to dismiss or ignore the suffering of others. “Callous” may describe actions or attitudes that are unfeeling, unsympathetic, or indifferent.

Variations of the word “callous” include the noun form “callousness,” which refers to the state or quality of being callous, and the adverb form “callously,” describing actions or behaviors that are characteristic of callousness.

Understanding the history and usage of “callous” serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy, compassion, and kindness in human interactions. It highlights the need to recognize and acknowledge the emotions and experiences of others, fostering a more caring and considerate society.