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cynic

[sin-ik] /ˈsɪn ɪk/
noun
1.
a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
2.
(initial capital letter) one of a sect of Greek philosophers, 4th century b.c., who advocated the doctrines that virtue is the only good, that the essence of virtue is self-control, and that surrender to any external influence is beneath human dignity.
3.
a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.
adjective
4.
5.
(initial capital letter). Also, Cynical. of or pertaining to the Cynics or their doctrines.
6.
Medicine/Medical Now Rare. resembling the actions of a snarling dog.
Origin
1540-1550
1540-50; < Latin Cynicus < Greek Kynikós Cynic, literally, doglike, currish, equivalent to kyn- (stem of kýōn) dog + -ikos - ic
Related forms
anticynic, noun, adjective
Can be confused
Synonyms
1, 3. skeptic, pessimist, misanthrope.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for cynics
  • Climate cynics have major gaps in their theory of global non-warming.
  • He would be harsh on cynics and easy optimists alike.
  • cynics and critics thought they might escape coping with it.
  • But they have now come far enough to be able to thumb their noses at the cynics.
  • No wonder cynics began to hint that, if believers differed so widely, belief might be a mistake.
  • They may yet defy cynics and become a successful model for single-payer care.
  • But cynics doubt that this owed much to the commissioner's powers of persuasion.
  • cynics have dismissed the package as much smaller than meets the eye.
  • And after years of stubbornly being himself, he seems to have won over even some of the cynics.
  • But to the cynics and reformers around the snooker world, they were perfect fodder.
British Dictionary definitions for cynics

cynic

/ˈsɪnɪk/
noun
1.
a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events
adjective
2.
a less common word for cynical
3.
(astronomy) of or relating to Sirius, the Dog Star
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek Kunikos, from kuōn dog

Cynic

/ˈsɪnɪk/
noun
1.
a member of a sect founded by Antisthenes that scorned worldly things and held that self-control was the key to the only good
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cynics

cynic

n.

mid-16c., in reference to the ancient philosophy, from Greek kynikos "a follower of Antisthenes," literally "dog-like," from kyon (genitive kynos) "dog" (see canine). Supposedly from the sneering sarcasm of the philosophers, but more likely from Kynosarge "Gray Dog," name of the gymnasium outside ancient Athens (for the use of those who were not pure Athenians) where the founder, Antisthenes (a pupil of Socrates), taught. Diogenes was the most famous. Popular association even in ancient times was "dog-like" (Lucian has kyniskos "a little cynic," literally "puppy"). Meaning "sneering sarcastic person" is from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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