I am sure there is such a word. Think of it as combining elements of harsh, uncaring, inconsiderate treatment with neglect and indifference.

For example, a parent that forces a child to do some particular activity they don't enjoy, harshly overruling their objections and indifferent to how it makes the child feel (and yes "abuse" is too extreme).

The word would fit sentences like:

She was treated [WORD].

She was left downtrodden after being treated [WORD] for so long.

I am looking for words more specific than words like "miserably" or "poorly" - the word would almost be synonymous with "roughly", "harshly", but with greater connotations of neglect and indifference. I am sure the word is out there but it escapes me (and I have consulted a thesaurus!)

  • She was treated abusively.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 12:44
  • @HotLicks: OP said he thought "abusive" too extreme. Though I am having trouble imagining a spectrum between abusive and harsh. Josh suggests brutally, but again, is there any room in between? There is probably a Dickens character who can be made a metonym for this.
    – David Pugh
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 13:55

5 Answers 5


The word your looking for is Callously, an adverb of Callous.

Callous is defined as: Feeling or showing no sympathy for others: hard-hearted - callous indifference to suffering.

She was treated callously.

She was left downtrodden after being treated callously for so long.

  • This indeed was the word I was looking for. Thanks!
    – aaa90210
    Commented May 16, 2015 at 20:19

How about contemptuous?

  • the feeling with which a person regards anything considered mean, vile, or worthless; disdain; scorn.
  • the state of being despised; dishonor; disgrace.

    I may have used something similar to brushoff or cold shoulder with appropriate verbiage


    She was treated brutally:

    • In a extremely ruthless or cruel way.

    • In a crude or unfeeling manner or speech. (AHD)


    We can modify a verb with an adverb (I like "callously" above). We can also choose a verb to stand on its own. So I think you might simply use "mistreated"?

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