callous, callus

The words callous, callus sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do callous, callus sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: callous, callus are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Having calluses; toughened: callous skin on the elbow.

  2. :: adjective

    Emotionally hardened; unfeeling: a callous indifference to the suffering of others.

  3. :: verb-transitive

    To make or become callous.

  1. :: noun

    A localized thickening and enlargement of the horny layer of the skin. Also called callosity.

  2. :: noun

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

  3. :: noun

    Botany Undifferentiated tissue that develops on or around an injured or cut plant surface or in tissue culture.

  4. :: noun

    Botany The hardened, sometimes sharp base of the floret of certain grasses.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").