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[kal-uh s] /ˈkæl əs/
noun, plural calluses.
Pathology, Physiology.
  1. a hardened or thickened part of the skin; a callosity.
  2. a new growth of osseous matter at the ends of a fractured bone, serving to unite them.
Also, callose. Botany.
  1. the tissue that forms over the wounds of plants, protecting the inner tissues and causing healing.
  2. a deposit on the perforated area of a sieve tube.
  3. (in grasses) a tough swelling at the base of a lemma or palea.
verb (used without object), callused, callusing.
to form a callus.
verb (used with object), callused, callusing.
to produce a callus or calluses on:
Heavy work callused his hands.
Origin of callus
1555-65; < Latin callus, masculine variant of callum; see callous
Related forms
uncallused, adjective
Can be confused
callous, callus. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for calluses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Let's have another look at his hand, to see if there are any calluses.

    The Professor at the Breakfast Table Oliver Wendell Holmes (Sr.)
  • I accepted the calluses as of long time and a matter of course.

  • But if we give it up, the calluses disappear; and if we meddle with it again, we miss the novelty and get the blisters.

    The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • But then he took her hand and felt its fine warmth, the calluses he remembered from all those months ago, and he felt better.

    Makers Cory Doctorow
British Dictionary definitions for calluses


noun (pl) -luses
Also called callosity. an area of skin that is hard or thick, esp on the palm of the hand or sole of the foot, as from continual friction or pressure
an area of bony tissue formed during the healing of a fractured bone
  1. a mass of hard protective tissue produced in woody plants at the site of an injury
  2. an accumulation of callose in the sieve tubes
(biotechnology) a mass of undifferentiated cells produced as the first stage in tissue culture
to produce or cause to produce a callus
Word Origin
C16: from Latin, variant of callum hardened skin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for calluses



"hardened skin," 1560s, from Latin callus, variant of callum "hard skin," related to callere "be hard," from PIE root *kal- "hard" (cf. Sanskrit kalika "bud," Old Irish calath "hard," Old Church Slavonic kaliti "to cool, harden").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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calluses in Medicine

callus cal·lus (kāl'əs)
n. pl. cal·lus·es

  1. See callosity.

  2. The hard bony tissue that develops around the ends of a fractured bone during healing.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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calluses in Science
  1. An area of the skin that has become hardened and thick, usually because of prolonged pressure or rubbing.

  2. The hard bony tissue that develops around the ends of a fractured bone during healing.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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