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 — F. D. Roosevelt
b. based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest <
a cynical ploy to cheat customers
cynically adverb Synonyms: cynical, misanthropic, pessimistic mean deeply distrustful. cynical implies having a sneering disbelief in sincerity or integrity <
cynical about politicians' motives
. misanthropic suggests a rooted distrust and dislike of human beings and their society <
a solitary and misanthropic artist
. pessimistic implies having a gloomy, distrustful view of life <
pessimistic about the future

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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 — 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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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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