Thick skinned

Posted by R. Berg on May 15, 2003

In Reply to: Thick skinned posted by Lotg on May 15, 2003

: In responding to a point raised by Word Camel on the 3rd of May, on the sanitation of some texts, I titled my response - 'we should all have thicker skins' or something like that.

: I now wonder how the term 'thick skinned' originated. Anyone know?

I imagine it originated with the idea that someone with thick skin feels less pain from a cut or a puncture. That may not be medically correct, but at least an injury to the skin hurts less if it's on a calloused area. Skin is protective, and a person with less of it seems vulnerable.

The Oxford English Dictionary's earliest quotation for "thick-skinned" in this figurative sense is dated 1602. There's also an entry for "thickskin," noun, "one who has a thick skin; a person dull or slow of feeling," earliest quotation 1582.