What does the idiom "thick-skinned" mean?

Are you using the idiom thick-skinned but not sure about its meaning? Using idioms, which are important elements of spoken and written language, in the right place strengthens your language skills. Examine the meaning of the thick-skinned idiom and the situations in which it is used.

Meaning of "thick-skinned"


The idiom "thick-skinned" is used to describe someone who does not take criticism or insults personally. This means that they are emotionally resilient and can ignore any snide remarks or unkind comments instead of becoming hurt or angry.


The phrase "thick-skinned" has been in use since the 16th century, but its true origin is unknown. It is thought to have derived from the thick skin of animals like rhinoceroses and hippopotamuses, which are essentially unaffected by stinging insects or the barbs of their predators. This endurance and resilience is what is known today as having a "thick skin".


The phrase is typically used as an adjective to describe a particular individual. For example, someone might say "He's a thick-skinned man, nothing can get him down!" or "She's a thick-skinned woman, able to take any criticism that comes her way".

Example Sentences

  • He's a thick-skinned person, so don't worry about hurting his feelings.
  • She's a thick-skinned individual who can handle any situation that comes her way.
  • I admire her for being so thick-skinned in the face of criticism.
  • He displayed a thick-skinned attitude when he was confronted with harsh words.

The meanings of the words in the "thick-skinned" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


No comment has been written about thick-skinned yet, you can write the first comment and share your thoughts with our other visitors.
Leave a Reply