- distrusting or disparaging the motives of others; like or characteristic of a cynic.
- showing contempt for accepted standards of honesty or morality by one's actions, especially by actions that exploit the scruples of others.
- bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.
- (initial capital letter) cynic(def 5).
Origin of cynical
1, 3. Cynical, pessimistic, sarcastic, satirical imply holding a low opinion of humanity. Cynical suggests a disbelief in the sincerity of human motives: cynical about honesty. Pessimistic implies a more or less habitual disposition to look on the dark side of things, and to believe that the worst will happen: pessimistic as to the future. Sarcastic refers to sneering or making cutting jibes: sarcastic about a profession of faith. Satirical suggests expressing scorn or ridicule by saying the opposite of what one means: a satirical attack on his political promises.
1, 3. optimistic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cynically
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders blubber about racism while cynically scheming for a permanent demographic majority.The Liberal Case Against Illegal Immigration
November 25, 2014
Whether it did so naively or cynically, I honestly do not know.Dark Money and Our Looming Oligarchy
October 22, 2014
Republican senators just cynically backed an amendment that would limit the influence of big donors.The New War on Big Money in Politics
September 10, 2014
But mostly, I think the Democrats are cynically pushing this shutdown talk as a way to scare their base.Democrats' Midterm Wish: The Government Shutdown That Won't Happen
September 3, 2014
Waldman is not cynically suggesting that the Supreme Court is a slave to public opinion.The True Meaning of the Second Amendment
May 31, 2014
"That won't matter," said Binet, cynically, and explained himself.Scaramouche
Not a few of the fabliaux are cynically gross—ribald but not voluptuous.A History of French Literature
"She'll probably take the reins," said Sir Thorald, cynically.Lorraine
Robert W. Chambers
"People like us do not keep our promises," answered La Roulante, cynically.The Son of Monte Christo
"You can't keep him there long," Tenison had cynically warned him.Laramie Holds the Range</p>
Frank H. Spearman
- distrustful or contemptuous of virtue, esp selflessness in others; believing the worst of others, esp that all acts are selfish
- sarcastic; mocking
- showing contempt for accepted standards of behaviour, esp of honesty or moralitythe politician betrayed his promises in a cynical way
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
Word Origin and History for cynically
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper