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callous
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callous


She displays a callous indifference to others’ suffering.
  emotionally hardened to other’s feelings
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callous callousness callously calloused callouses
Strongly Associated with:   callow
Notes:
Often confused with the word, callus (hardened skin). The words are pronounced identically.
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Samples:
  • She displays a callous indifference to others’ suffering.
  • Callous as they were to my suffering, they were equally callous to their own when anything befell them.
    Jack London  --  The Sea Wolf
  • ...in a tone of the deepest reproach, as if he were the most callous of nephews...
    Charles Dickens  --  Great Expectations
  • "You have to understand; we’re trained to see things as logically as possible," says Cara. "So don’t think that I’m callous. But..."
    Veronica Roth  --  Insurgent

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  • Dennis saw the callous way my aunt treated me, and he saw her love trysts with Mr. Stein, and he never said anything about how she acted with Mr. Stein, but he’d always offer a kind word to me, or just make a joke.
    James McBride  --  The Color of Water
  • He didn’t seem to be sorry at all, and suddenly she was angry at him, not only for his callousness about the horse but because he didn’t appreciate anything that was being done for him, by her or anyone else.
    Hal Borland  --  When the Legends Die
  • Her schooldays were her most miserable days, she was unsentimental to the point of callousness about the women’s college she had attended, nothing displeased her more than to be set in the middle of a group of people who played Remember Old So-and-So.
    Harper Lee  --  Go Set a Watchman
  • I’m appalled at Cain’s callousness.
    Sabaa Tahir  --  An Ember in the Ashes
  • "I think it came out more callously than I’d intended."
    Kiera Cass  --  The Heir
  • I cannot be as certain about the effect on the catfish, for my unfeeling cousin — once the hooferaw had died down a little — callously flushed the toilet.
    Farley Mowat  --  Never Cry Wolf

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  • —as though cruelty and callousness were the norm, ordinary decency the marvel.
    Corrie Ten Boom  --  The Hiding Place
  • And it was here, as I say, that his punishing callousness turned into outright persecution.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • They need their callousness, they need their ignorance.
    Margaret Atwood  --  Cat’s Eye
  • DANFORTH: Then you tell me that you sat in my court, callously lying, when you knew that people would hang by your evidence?
    Arthur Miller  --  The Crucible
  • Have they been programmed to hate our faces particularly because we have survived and they were so callously murdered?
    Suzanne Collins  --  The Hunger Games
  • Did I mention she was a former pet, callously discarded by her Indonesian owners?
    Yann Martel  --  Life of Pi
  • He had had a terribly therapeutic yell at his prisoners and was now feeling quite relaxed and ready for a little callousness.
    Douglas Adams  --  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • His complete callousness and his inability to feel any responsibility for the lives he had taken made him, I considered, a type dangerous to the community and unfit to live.
    Agatha Christie  --  And Then There Were None
  • Inquiries had been conducted at Marengo and the police informed that I’d shown "great callousness" at my mother’s funeral.
    Albert Camus  --  The Stranger
  • And here I was, callously throwing away everything she wanted in life like it was garbage.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • Arrogance and callousness for the conquerors, bitter endurance and hatred for the conquered.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • He looks at all the options — it’s thoroughness, not callousness.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Eclipse
  • We were puzzled, too, by the Sealand woman, for there was no callousness in her mind, nor any great concern either: just a slight distaste, as if for an unavoidable, but unexceptional, necessity.
    John Wyndham  --  The Chrysalids
  • The prison photos were horrific, and the media callously aired them all, even long after the Solomons’ private burial ceremony.
    Dan Brown  --  The Lost Symbol
  • ’You didn’t realise this was coming?’ said a high girlish voice, sounding callously amused, and Harry, moving slightly to his right, saw that Trelawney’s terrifying vision was nothing other than Professor Umbridge.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Yossarian missed Nurse Duckett so much that he went searching hungrily through the streets for Luciana, whose laugh and invisible scar he had never forgotten, or the boozy, blowzy, bleary-eyed floozy in the overloaded white brassiere and unbuttoned orange satin blouse whose naughty salmon-colored cameo ring Aarfy had thrown away so callously through the window of her car.
    Joseph Heller  --  Catch-22
  • He remembered with what callousness he had watched her.
    Oscar Wilde  --  The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Remembering his Rumanian friend’s story, about the man who had worked for years on the brain of an armadillo, he suspected that patient Germans were sitting close to the libraries of Berlin and Vienna callously anticipating him.
    F. Scott Fitzgerald  --  Tender is the Night
  • "I won’t give it to any one, I won’t give you anything," Snegiryov cried callously.
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky  --  The Brothers Karamazov
  • And they almost regretted—though none of them would have owned to such callousness—that their father was soon coming back.
    D.H. Lawrence  --  Sons and Lovers
  • 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.
    Robert Louis Stevenson  --  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  • 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.
    Leo Tolstoy  --  Anna Karenina
  • Then she would reproach herself for her own callousness.
    Larry McMurtry  --  Lonesome Dove
  • I became skilled in ignoring these cosmic threats and developed a callousness toward all metaphysical preachments.
    Richard Wright  --  Black Boy
  • Weak and feverish already, I had little reserve; and handling the dead body with such a purpose caused me nausea, Lestat was laughing, telling me callously that I would feel so different once I was a vampire that I would laugh, too.
    Anne Rice  --  Interview with the Vampire
  • HOPE—(with a dull callousness) Somebody croaked your Evelyn, eh?
    Eugene O’Neill  --  The Iceman Cometh
  • Then they would use that knowledge callously, and with deadly intent.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Lords of Discipline
  • Why, at this completely inappropriate moment, when he was stooping over her shoe, should she be so tormented with sympathy for him that, as she stooped too, the blood rushed to her face, and, thinking of her callousness (she had called him a play-actor) she felt her eyes swell and tingle with tears?
    Virginia Woolf  --  To the Lighthouse
  • The reason why, if he were not more than two thousand years dead, he would have gladly rubbed him out is that he saw him as a prototype for the many millions of self-satisfied and truly ignorant teachers throughout history who have smugly and callously killed the creative spirit of their students with this dumb ritual of analysis, this blind, rote, eternal naming of things.
    Robert M. Pirsig  --  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  • They held it against me as well that I was at first calm and in good spirits, with full and clear eyes, which they took for callousness; but if I’d been weeping and crying, they would have said it showed my guilt; for they’d already decided I was guilty, and once people make their minds up that you have done a crime, then anything you do is taken as proof of it; and I don’t think I could have scratched myself or wiped my nose without it being written up in the newspapers, and malicious…
    Margaret Atwood  --  Alias Grace
  • It seemed the last touch of his callousness.
    E.M. Forster  --  Howards End
  • "Go along! Get back to the herd!" yelled Tom, shocked despite his callousness.
    Zane Grey  --  The Thundering Herd
  • "Any moment now," said Bigwig callously.
    Richard Adams  --  Watership Down
  • A cruel thing happened just before supper, indicative of the callousness and brutishness of these men.
    Jack London  --  Sea Wolf
  • [with brotherly callousness] Nobody could get very sentimental about Violet, I think, pretty as she is.
    George Bernard Shaw  --  Man And Superman
  • For this attitude implies that such actions shine out as rare exceptions, while callousness and apathy are the general rule.
    Albert Camus  --  The Plague
  • In his callousness, he would knock upon the doors of the ailing, saying if they wanted a grave he would dig it then and there or not at all.
    Geraldine Brooks  --  Year of Wonders
  • Leo moved in— but only after first abandoning, with the cool callousness of an intellectual aristocrat, his younger brothers and sisters to charity and a fate suited to their lesser talents.
    Thomas Mann  --  The Magic Mountain
  • Despite his outward callousness, Bruenor realized how true some of the drow’s accusations had rung; he had come to care for the people who had settled on the banks of the three lakes.
    R.A. Salvatore  --  The Crystal Shard
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Associated words [difficulty]:   callous [2] , callow [5]
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Most commonly used in these subjects:   Classic Literature, Human Behavior, Religion - Christianity
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