cynic

[ sin-ik ]
/ ˈsɪn ɪk /

noun

a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view.
(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.
a person who shows or expresses a bitterly or sneeringly cynical attitude.

adjective

(initial capital letter) Also Cynical. of or relating to the Cynics or their doctrines.
Medicine/Medical Now Rare. resembling the actions of a snarling dog.

Origin of cynic

1540–50; < LatinCynicus < Greek Kynikós Cynic, literally, doglike, currish, equivalent to kyn- (stem of kýōn) dog + -ikos -ic

Related forms

an·ti·cyn·ic, noun, adjective

Can be confused

cynic optimist pessimist skeptic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cynic

British Dictionary definitions for cynic (1 of 2)

cynic

/ (ˈsɪnɪk) /

noun

a person who believes the worst about people or the outcome of events

adjective

a less common word for cynical
astronomy of or relating to Sirius, the Dog Star

Word Origin for cynic

C16: via Latin from Greek Kunikos, from kuōn dog

British Dictionary definitions for cynic (2 of 2)

Cynic

/ (ˈsɪnɪk) /

noun

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