Words

Difference Between Callous and Callus

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Main Difference

The main difference between callous and callus is that the word callus is a noun and a verb, whereas the word callous is an adjective and a verb.

Callous vs. Callus

The word callous and callus are the two similar words that look alike. They are homophones but are different in their spellings. The word callus is a verb as well as a noun. As a noun , it refers to a thickening of the skin that is localized. As a verb, callus means forming skin thickening, which is localized.

The word callus is a noun and a verb, whereas the word callous is an adjective and a verb. Callous is used in figurative meaning. It is not a noun but an adjective and a verb. The word callous does not describe the skin as the word callus does. As a verb, callous means to become callous. As an adjective, it means unfeeling, unsympathetic, or harsh.

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The words callus and callous have the same pronunciations. The callus is pronounced as “Kal-us. Callous is also pronounced as “Kal-us. They also rhyme with similar words such as Dallas, and phallus. Closely similar words, callus, and callous have their different origins.

The word callus is derived from the Latin word “Callum.” The word callous is derived from the Latin word “callous.” However, both these words originated in the 16th century. The meaning of callus is a skin condition with hardened and thickened skin.

This hardening and thickening are caused by repetitive or hectic work with hands or feet. The meaning of callous is to be feelingless, cruel, dispassionate, or unsympathetic to the pain and problems of other people.

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The cause of callus (n) is hard work such as sewing, picking bushels of crops, or working with different hand tools. The causes of callous (adj) are numerous, including the effects of negativity on a person from the society that makes it callous.

Although callus and callous have the same pronunciation and different spellings, virtually they refer to the same thing — both the word’s direct qualities, e.g., harsh, rough, or tough.

Comparison Chart

CallousCallus
A skin condition with hardened and thickened skin. This hardening is caused by the hectic work with hands or feetTo be feeling less, less cruel, dispassionate, or unsympathetic to the pain and problems of other people
Parts of Speech
Noun, verbAdjective, verb
Origin
Latin “callous”Latin “Callum”
Verb Meaning
Forming skin thickening which is localizedTo become callous
Kind of Meaning
LiteralFigurative
Pronunciation
Kal-usKal-us
Rhyming Words
Dallas, phallusDallas, phallus

What is Callus?

The word callus is a verb as well as a noun. As a noun, it refers to a thickening of the skin that is localized. As a verb, callus means forming skin thickening, which is localized. The callus is a spot on the skin, whether on hands or feet, where your skin becomes thick and rough.

The meaning of callus is a skin condition with hardened and thickened skin. This hardening and thickening are caused by repetitive or hectic work with hands or feet. The word callus is derived from the Latin word “Callum.” The words callus and callous have the same pronunciations. The callus is pronounced as “Kal-us.

The cause of callus (n) is hard work such as sewing, picking bushels of crops, or working with different hand tools. Callus develops due to the irritated skin, and this irritation is caused by friction or pressure.

You can have calluses anywhere on the skin, which was in repetitive work conditions. If someone is wearing uncomfortable shoes that are continuously leading to the rubbing of his/her toes against each other, he/she will have a callus between toes.

In the same way, the labors got callus in their hands due to the hard work they do. Callus also appears under the feet if someone walks barefoot on the ground. So callus is the result of the continuous rubbing and irritating of any of the spots of the skin.

There is another callous, too, in medicine. It is the bony tissue (less hard than a bone) that forms within the process of the healing of a broken bone. Calluses are not as dangerous, but they are painful, and if not treated with an ointment, they can be infected.

The callus is common among people who are indulged in standing activities, who do hard work, who wear ill-fitting shoes, etc. Callus affects women more than men as the skins of women are more sensitive, and they wear heels that cause callus.

Calluses are not usually harmful. But they are dangerous for the people who have diabetes and poor circulation in their feet. Such people lead to infections or ulcerations of the skin.

Examples

  • “Going a happy part of a relax summer or a great way to step on a bee, get Athlete’s Foot, and develop calluses on hand and feet?” [Atlanta Journal Constitution]
  • “By law, nail salons are not allowed to use callus shavers.”
  • “I get addicted to having calluses on my hands, mud under my fingernails, and grass stains on my sneakers and my knees.” [The Telegram]

What is Callous

The word callous is an adjective and a verb. It is also used as an alternative for its counterpart, “the callus.” Although callous is used in figurative meaning. As a verb, callous means to become callous. As an adjective, it means unfeeling, unsympathetic, or harsh. A person who is unsympathetic, or has an ill attitude is known as a callous person.

The adjective callous came around 1400. It holds the meaning of hardened, thickened, or indurated animal tissue. The counterpart of this word callous, which is “callus,” derived later in about 1563. Callous is also pronounced as “Kal-us. They also rhyme with similar words such as Dallas, phallus.

The meaning of callous is to be feeling-less, cruel, dispassionate, or unsympathetic to the pain and problems of other people. The word callous is derived from the Latin word “callous.” The causes of callous (adj) are numerous, including the effects of negativity on a person from the society that makes it callous.

In 1647 the word callous had a meaning not easily affected emotionally, harsh, unfeeling, showing a disregard for the feelings of others. As an adjective, ‘callous’ refers to the hardness. It sometimes also refers to the hardness of skin produced due to many reasons such as wearing tight shoes or socks, wearing no socks, or sometimes due to repetitive or routine activities such as jogging, hand labor, etc.

But the use of callous about the skin is not common because to refer to the skin hardness due to friction, the word “callous” is preferred, which is a noun as well as a verb. The word callous commonly means the harshness in the behavior of people or they’re unfeeling. Its meaning as a verb or as an adjective will be directing this same quality of harshness.

Examples

  • “He has a callous on his forehead from having prostrated himself in prayer so often.” [NPR]
  • “The case resonated with the Egyptians who came to see the country’s police as a callous.” [Washington Post]
  • “His hardcore ideology is socially libertine for religious conservatives and economically callous for crossover Democrats.” [Telegraph]

Key Differences

  1. The callus is a noun and a verb, whereas callous is an adjective and a verb.
  2. The word callus refers to a localized thickening of the skin as a noun; on the other hand, the word callous means unsympathetic or harsh as an adjective.
  3. Callus is used in literal meaning inversely callous is used in figurative meaning.
  4. Callus is pronounced as “Kal-us while callous is also pronounced as “Kal-us. Both rhymes with words, e.g., Dallas, phallus.
  5. The meaning of callus is a skin condition with hardened and thickened the skin, on the other hand, the meaning of callous is to be feeling-less, cruel, dispassionate, or unsympathetic to the pain and problems of other people.
  6. As a verb, callus means forming skin thickening, which is localized conversely as a verb, callous means to become callous.
  7. The word callus is derived from the Latin word “Callum” on the contrary, the word callous is derived from the Latin word “callous.”
  8. The cause of callus (n) is hard work such as sewing, picking bushels of crops, or working with different hand tools contrarily the causes of callous (adj) are numerous, including the effects of negativity on a person from the society that makes it callous.
  9. Callus is an old term inversely; callous is a comparatively new term.

Conclusion

Callus and callous are two words that are alike in their pronunciation. But both these words are different in their spelling, meaning, context, and usage. However, sometimes callous is used with the same meaning as the word callus, but this is not common.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson