Cynic Cyn"ic (s[i^]n"[i^]k), Cynical Cyn"ic*al (-[i^]*kal), a. [L. cynicus of the sect of Cynics, fr. Gr. kyniko`s, prop., dog-like, fr. ky`wn, kyno`s, dog. See {Hound}.] 1. Having the qualities of a surly dog; snarling; captious; currish.

I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received. --Johnson. [1913 Webster]

2. Pertaining to the Dog Star; as, the cynic, or Sothic, year; cynic cycle. [1913 Webster]

3. Belonging to the sect of philosophers called cynics; having the qualities of a cynic; pertaining to, or resembling, the doctrines of the cynics. [1913 Webster]

4. Given to sneering at rectitude and the conduct of life by moral principles; believing the worst of human nature and motives; disbelieving in the reality of any human purposes which are not suggested or directed by self-interest or self-indulgence; having a sneering disbelief in the selflessness of others; as, a cynical man who scoffs at pretensions of integrity; characterized by such opinions; as, cynical views of human nature.

Syn: misanthropic, misanthropical. [1913 Webster]

Note: In prose, cynical is used rather than cynic, in the senses 1 and 4. [1913 Webster]

{Cynic spasm} (Med.), a convulsive contraction of the muscles of one side of the face, producing a sort of grin, suggesting certain movements in the upper lip of a dog. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • cynical — cynical, misanthropic, pessimistic, misogynic are comparable when meaning deeply and often contemptuously dis trustful. Cynical implies a sneering disbelief in sincerity and integrity {the ease with which she asserted or denied whatever suited… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • cynical — [sin′i kəl] adj. [< L cynicus, of the Cynics: see CYNIC] 1. believing that people are motivated in all their actions only by selfishness; denying the sincerity of people s motives and actions, or the value of living 2. sarcastic, sneering, etc …   English World dictionary

  • cynical — I adjective acrimonious, apt to distrust, arrogant, caustic, cavalier, censorious, condemnatory, contemptuous, contumelious, critical, decrying, defamatory, defeatist, denunciatory, derisive, derogative, derogatory, despising, disapproving,… …   Law dictionary

  • cynical — 1580s, resembling Cynic philosophers, from CYNIC (Cf. cynic) + AL (Cf. al) (1). By late 17c. the meaning had shaded into the general one of critical, disparaging the motives of others, captious, sneering, peevish. Related: Cynically …   Etymology dictionary

  • cynical — [adj] nonbelieving; doubtful contemptuous, derisive, ironic, misanthropic, misanthropical, mocking, pessimistic, sarcastic, sardonic, scoffing, scornful, skeptical, sneering, suspicious, unbelieving, wry; concepts 267,403 Ant. believing, hopeful …   New thesaurus

  • cynical — ► ADJECTIVE 1) tending not to believe in the integrity or sincerity of others. 2) sceptical. 3) contemptuous; mocking. 4) concerned only with one s own interests. DERIVATIVES cynically adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • cynical — 01. Harvey is a very [cynical] guy who would never believe that anyone did anything out of generosity. 02. You are such a [cynic]! Don t you believe in anything? 03. Calvin s [cynical] view of the world has kept him from making many friends. 04.… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • cynical — adjective Date: 1542 1. captious, peevish 2. having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as a. contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives < those cynical men who say that democracy cannot be honest and efficient …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cynical — cyn|i|cal [ sınıkl ] adjective * 1. ) someone who is cynical believes that people care only about themselves and are not sincere or honest 2. ) someone who is cynical expects things not to be successful or useful: cynical about: I know that some… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • cynical — [[t]sɪ̱nɪk(ə)l[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED If you describe someone as cynical, you mean they believe that people always act selfishly. ...his cynical view of the world. Ant: idealistic Derived words: cynically ADV GRADED ADV with v As a backpacker said… …   English dictionary

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